Top Stories

Sunday MLS Ticker: Pappa lifts Chicago, D.C. defeats Charleston, and more

Marco Pappa (

Photo by


An early Marco Pappa strike led the Chicago Fire to a 1-0 win over Toronto FC in Saturday's Carolina Challenge Cup opener between two Eastern Conference foes looking to bounce back from missing the playoffs in 2010.

Pappa found the game's lone goal six minutes in when the Guatemalan midfielder collected a feed from Davis Paul and saw his a deflected shot beat Toronto goalkeeper Stefan Frei.

Chicago spent most of the match, played at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C., down a man after Logan Pause was shown red in the 36th minute for a slide tackle on Toronto midfielder Oscar Cordon.

But the Fire's rebuilt back line of re-entry draft selection Cory Gibbs, first-round SuperDraft pick Jalil Anibaba and Croatian signing Josip Mikulic, along with substitute Gonzalo Segares, held Toronto off the score sheet.

Here is a roundup of the rest of Saturday's MLS preseason action:


Joseph Ngwenya finished a cross from strike partner Josh Wolff in the 71st minute to lift D.C. United to a 2-1 win against the Charleston Battery in the second half of Saturday's Carolina Challenge Cup doubleheader.

Chris Pontius opened the scoring for United when he coolly finished Dax McCarty's fourth-minute through ball. Former United midfielder Stephen Armstrong equalized for Charleston on a penalty kick in the 15 minute.

Striker Charlie Davies logged 11 minutes for United after entering as a late substitute for Wolff. McCarty wore the armband for D.C., marking the first time coach Ben Olsen has selected a captain this preseason.


Houston Dynamo first-round SuperDraft selection Will Bruin took a significant step forward in his bid to win the starting job alongside veteran forward Brian Ching, notching a hat trick during the Dynamo's 5-0 thrashing of Southern Methodist in Houston.

Bruin, who only played the first half, scored all three of his goals via headers, connecting on Brad Davis corner kicks in the 15th and 30th minutes before nodding home a Mike Chabala cross in the 31st minute.

Davis showed off his set-piece expertise again in the 40th minute when he bended in a 30-yard free kick. Jason Garey, who is competing for playing time up top with Bruin, Cam Weaver and Dominic Oduro, found net with an 87th-minute volley off a Hunter Freeman feed.


It was a good day for Bruins all around, as UCLA picked up a 2-1 win over Chivas USA in Carson, Calif.

Alan Gordon's close-range finish in the 23rd minute gave Chivas an early lead. But Chandler Hoffman equalized for the Bruins shortly before halftime, and a 76th-minute penalty kick from UCLA's Andy Rose proved to be the difference.

Chivas striker Justin Braun saw his first preseason action after suffering an Achilles injury in January's U.S. national team camp.


FC Dallas rolled to a 7-0 victory over the Arizona Sahuaros after exploding for six goals in the first half of its scrimmage against the amateur side in Phoenix.

Milton Rodriguez bagged a brace while Eric Avila, Jackson, David Ferreira, Marvin Chavez and Ruben Luna also scored for the Hoops.


Will Chicago's new-look defense help get the Fire back to the playoffs? Is McCarty the right pick for captain in D.C.? Does Bruin deserve to start next to Ching for Houston?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. So…I went to Blackbaud Stadium for the first time Saturday night hoping to watch both games. My kids had other ideas however and we ended up leaving after the Toronto/Chicago match…just too cold and windy for them lol. The stadium is really nice for a small club…I moved to Charleston from Wilmington, NC where I followed the Hammerheads who also have a fairly nice stadium(I used to play my highschool soccer there). The game was pretty entertaining and I had a good time. My highlight came as I was taking a smoke break as the DC United team arrived and I saw Charlie Davies slowly walking by. I’m by no means a “starstruck” type of person, but I was excited to see him. I hadn’t done my homework, so I didn’t realize DC had ended up picking him up after his trial. I’m really looking forward to following the Charleston team this year…they have a good history and a pleasant enough venue. Anyone else in this area interested in joining me for a game let me know 🙂

  2. +1 ELAC
    If Chivas USA were actually based in Mexico, perhaps their play wouldn’t be so abysmal. What we have here is a couple gallons of old-fashioned home-brewed American stinkola.

  3. Is anyone on the level of Brad Davis in the MLS when it comes to set pieces? No one comes to mind. That is a “cultured left foot.”

  4. I know Pontius has gotten back-to-back games on the wing, with the first team. Think they’re getting a look at him there, but I think it most likely that Boskovic gets the starting nod there. Hard to believe they’ll sit the DP. I think they’re trying to get minutes for a lot of people. With Davies in France, they could get Ngwenya and Wolff some work, putting Pontius in the midfield. From what I’ve read, Pontius has looked really good — too good to sit, but I still gotta think that it will be Boskovic on hte wing…leaving Pontius to play up top.

  5. I’d guess the answer to that is “no.” My speculation is Davies and Pontius at the top I wouldn’t be surprised if Olsen started either Ngwenya or Wolff, but i would expect they’re #3 and #4, with Brettschneider #5.

  6. Be careful Mike. It’s hard to go back to Mexico when your team is based in Carson.

    In other words, it was born here.

    You want to deport Chivas USA?

    How xenophobic of you.

  7. I don’t have an MLS team in my town so I have no allegiances really. Each season seems to bring a new team for me to follow. This season it must be DC. I’ve never tuned into a pre-season game before last night. I was excited to see them play for a number of reasons. Obviously Charlie Davies but beyond that I’m a huge fan of Ben Olson. I’d really like to see him become a great head coach. I’m also expecting Dax McCarty to play with a chip on his shoulder after being discarded by FCD. I thought they played pretty well against a team that is traditionally tough to breakdown.


Leave a Comment