Kovalenko's late goal batters Charleston
March 24, 2007 (Official Game Summary)
The New York Red Bulls needed a last-gasp strike from Dema Kovalenko to top the USL First Division Charleston Battery 1-0 in Saturday's Carolina Challenge Cup nightcap. The nearly full-strength Red Bulls struggled, but Kovalenko managed to pull them from the fire.
Battery goalkeeper Dusty Hudock was hands-down the man of the match, coming up big on several occasions, including a save on a Claudio Reyna penalty kick.
But the Red Bulls' speed up front proved to be too much for the Battery -- in their second week of preseason preparation -- when Kovalenko jumped on a rebound after Hudock made an initial save on a Dane Richards breakaway.
Despite the strong defensive effort, it looked as if the Red Bulls would pull ahead in the 61st minute when Battery midfielder Ian Fuller was called for a handball in the penalty area. Reyna stepped up hitting the spot-kick low and to Hudock's right. With a good jump on the ball, Hudock knocked the ball down and it was cleared away.
Richards, a 63rd minute substitute for Ansu Toure, increased the pressure on the tiring Battery back line, making several penetrating runs and forcing Hudock to make two good saves before his third run on goal, which Kovalenko finished.