Final Standings PTS GD GF GA
- Columbus Crew 7 +2 4 2
- Atlanta United 6 +2 7 5
- Charleston Battery 2 -1 3 4
- Seattle Sounders 1 -3 3 6
Columbus Crew vs. Seattle Sounders
The Columbus Crew needed a win against the Seattle Sounders to clinch the Carolina Challenge Cup, and they managed to do so in thrilling fashion. Niko Hansen, the Crew’s first round pick in the 2017 SuperDraft, took advantage of poor marking from Seattle’s backline to slot home a goal in the 80th minute for the 1-0 win and the preseason title.
Atlanta United vs. Charleston Battery
Since Columbus wrapped up the title earlier on, the nightcap was essentially an exhibition. I mean, even more so of an exhibition than it already was. Tata Martino gave valuable playing time to his usual reserve players, perhaps as a tryout of sorts to see who he will include on the first team come March 5th.
Atlanta United’s theme of scoring early goals continued, as Yamil Asad’s 4th minute header off a Mikey Ambrose cross was their fifth goal scored in the first ten minutes of a match this preseason.
However, Charleston continued to showcase their resilience against higher levels of competition, another theme of this year’s CCC. It was Atlanta United loanee Romario Williams who brought the USL side level, after a physical run in Atlanta’s half saw the Jamaican international’s unstoppable shot from just outside the box slot past goalkeeper Kyle Reynish in the 45th minute.
Hector Villalba came on late in the match, hoping to have an effect on the outcome. He did just that in the dying seconds of the match, as Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu’s cross found Villalba in the box, whose first touch switched the ball to his left foot for the easy finish and a thrilling conclusion to the CCC.