Tomorrow (February 18, 2017) is the opening day for the 2017 Carolina Challenge Cup hosted by Atlanta United FC’s affiliate team the Charleston Battery. Four (4) teams are competing this year; Atlanta United FC, Columbus Crew SC, Charleston Battery (Host), and Seattle Sounders FC.
Coming off an impressive performance in Chattanooga last weekend, Atlanta United FC look poised to take on their first MLS opponents a few weeks before their inaugural season kicks off on March 5th. This will be a great chance for many of the expat players to get acquainted with the MLS style and rate of play. Tata (ATL Manager), will also be given a better opportunity at gauging who will be the initial starting 11 for the upcoming season.
Columbus Crew SC finished 9th in the Eastern Conference in 2016 with only 36 points (8-12-14 record). With only one team in the East having a worse record than them, Columbus will be taking a fresh approach to the 2017 campaign and what better place to start than in Charleston?
Seattle Sounders FC are coming off a great season, having won the 2016 MLS playoffs only a few months ago. Seattle had an average season by their standards only finishing 4th in the Western Conference behind rivals LA Galaxy. After going on to win the MLS playoffs, spurned by young USA international, Jordan Morris, and the recent return of star man Clint Dempsey (USA), the Sounders look to be a formidable outfit. It is unknown weather Dempsey will make any appearances during the Carolina Challenge Cup, but, there is no doubt to his presence in the lineup come March.
Charleston Battery are close to home for Atlanta United FC as they are the sides USL affiliate. As the final lineup for Atlanta has yet to be confirmed, it is likely that at least a few of the players will find a home in Charleston come March. With only 9 international spots available and 13 current international players, Atlanta is faced with some hard decisions to field a MLS approved side.
The Game Schedule for this weekend is as follows:
ATL United FC vs Columbus Crew SC – Kickoff @ 4:30 pm (Gates Open: 3:00 pm)
Charleston Battery vs Seattle Sounders FC – Kickoff @ 7:00 pm
Charleston Battery vs Columbus Crews SC – Kickoff @ 5:00 pm (Gates Open: 3:30 pm)
ATL United FC vs Seattle Sounders FC – Kickoff @ 7:30 pm
Seattle Sounders FC vs Columbus Crews SC – Kickoff @ 4:30 pm (Gates Ope: 3:00 pm)
Charleston Battery vs ATL United FC – Kickoff @ 7:00 pm
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