Later today, the Houston Dynamo will face off against Eastern Conference rival Chicago Fire in the opening match of the 2013 Carolina Challenge Cup. This year marks the tenth running of the preseason tournament which pits Major League Soccer clubs against teams in the United Soccer League.
The event is hosted by the USL club Charleston Battery and has welcomed a number of MLS clubs in years past. D.C. United holds the record of three tournaments won, while the Dynamo have won twice in the past (2006, 2007).
Houston hasn't participated since their last tournament win in 2007 and have an impressive 4-0-2 record all time. Chicago has participated in the last two tournaments, and finished runner up in 2012 to DCU.
The MLS preseason is nearly over, with just over two weeks left until first kick. Chicago and Houston will be fine tuning their rosters and both teams will be looking to get a final look at their respective trailists.
Houston still has Mike Chabala, Jimmy Nealis, and Anthony Arena competing for a roster spot. In addition, Franck Songo'o is still with the team and it's possible the club could work out a trade with Portland to keep the midfielder in Houston.
Ahead of today's match, the Chicago Fire put up some game notes. It's a good read with some statistics for both clubs.
The match will be streamed live beginning at 4 p.m. CST.
Update: Looks who's travelling with the team to South Carolina this morning.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>Look who's traveling with me to Charleston. It's our new signing Bryan Salazar who makes his 1st team debut later. <a href="http://t.co/xjutuNn9" title="http://twitter.com/ChrisCanetti/status/302807086293733378/photo/1">twitter.com/ChrisCanetti/s...</a></p>— Chris Canetti (@ChrisCanetti) <a href="https://twitter.com/ChrisCanetti/status/302807086293733378">February 16, 2013</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Here's the full schedule of games for the Carolina Challenge Cup:
Saturday, Feb. 16
Chicago Fire vs. Houston Dynamo - 5 pm ET
Charleston Battery vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC - 7:15 pm ET
Wednesday, Feb. 20
Houston Dynamo vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC - 5 pm ET
Charleston Battery vs. Chicago Fire - 7:15 pm ET
Saturday, Feb. 23
Chicago Fire vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC - 5 pm ET
Charleston Battery vs. Houston Dynamo - 7:15 pm ET