The night could not have gone much better for Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Osvaldo Alonso.
Alonso, who started his professional soccer career in Charleston, had a goal as the Sounders defeated the Charleston Battery, 2-1, Saturday night during the opening round of the Carolina Challenge Cup before a sellout crowd of 5,195 at Blackbaud Stadium.
It had been six years since Alonso stepped onto the field at Blackbaud Stadium. Seattle midfielder Lamar Neagle, who played for the Battery during the 2010 season, was also back in the Lowcountry playing against his old club.
Alonso and Neagle couldn't help but be a little nostalgic about returning to the place where their professional careers had begun.
"I'm so happy to be back here playing against my old team," said Alonso, who helped lead the Battery to the U.S. Open Cup final during the 2008 season. "I saw a lot of fans I knew from when I was here before and that was very special for me. I got a goal. We won. Great night. Couldn't have been much better."
Alonso, who played the entire 90 minutes against Charleston, got the first goal of the game when he ripped a shot past Charleston keeper Andy Ramos from about 21 yards out in the 25th minute. The partisan Battery crowd, at least the ones who had watched Alonso play, gave the Cuban national a polite ovation after the goal.
"I bet that's the first time our fans have cheered after the other team scores," Battery captain Colin Falvey said.
Neagle, who was the USL Second Division MVP during his season with the Battery, said his reception was a little cooler than Alonso's.
"The fans were heckling me a little bit, that's a first for me in this place," Neagle said laughing. "I got to talk with a lot of the fans from when I was here before. It was a fun game. It was fun being back out here and playing on this field again. It was a great atmosphere."
Neagle and Falvey were roommates during the 2010 season and enjoyed renewing their friendly rivalry on the field.
"We played against each other in practice all the time. I've still have Lamar in my pocket," Falvey said laughing. "No, you can see how he's developed over the last four years and turned into a really good player. The runs he's making now, he's strong on the ball. The sky is the limit for him and I couldn't be prouder. It was good to see the back of his jersey again."
Three minutes after the Sounders scored, Favley answered to tie the game at 1-1 when he slammed home a loose ball off a set piece.
The Sounders got the game-winner off of Brad Evans' penalty kick in the 89th minute.
"I thought we played very well," said Charleston Battery coach Mike Anhaeuser. "I'm not sure it was penalty, but you're not going to get that call against an MLS team in that situation. We kept our shape and had our chances to score."
D.C. United defeated the Houston Dynamo, 2-0, in the first game Saturday night.
Michael Seaton scored for D.C. United in the second half after getting an own goal by the Dynamo, off Houston defender David Horst, in the first half.
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