'Next step' DNA sampling bill now in Sanford's hands

A pipette is used to measure precise quantities of liquid containing DNA

CHICAGO -- The Charleston Battery knocked the Chicago Fire out of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in dramatic fashion Tuesday night, booking a place in the quarterfinals with a penalty-kick shootout victory.

After a scoreless 120 minutes, the teams headed to penalty kicks to decide who advanced. Lamar Neagle, Mike Zaher and Ian Fuller converted as the Fire missed two and had one try saved by goalkeeper Tim Melia.

The win was the Battery's eighth all-time against a Major League Soccer opponent and their first since the franchise moved to the USL Second Division. Charleston will face MLS' Columbus Crew in Columbus, Ohio, next Tuesday night.

The Battery nearly scored in the fifth minute as veteran midfielder Stephen Armstrong received the ball at the edge of the box and managed to turn his defender and make room for a shot. He chipped the ball over the keeper but the ball bounced back off the far post and was quickly scrambled clear.

Chicago's first threat arrived in the 11th minute, but Marco Pappa's free kick was saved.

After the break, Chicago began to dominate and enjoyed most of the possessions as Charleston defended methodically.

The Fire came close to breaking the deadlock in the 69th minute after a good build-up resulted in a lifted cross into the middle. Forward Stefan Dimitrov attempted a bicycle kick, but Melia reacted well and made the save.

In stoppage time at the end of regulation, Tom Heinemann picked out Neagle with a diagonal pass. Neagle controlled the ball but his attempt rose high over the cross bar.

Both sides looked like they would settle for a tie as the game entered overtime and neither team managed to create a clear-cut chance. Mayard had the lone opportunity for the Battery, but his long-range effort in the 117th minute missed the target.

Chicago kicked first in the penalty shootout, but former U.S. national teamer Brian McBride skied his attempt over the bar. Neagle converted to give Charleston the lead, then watched as Melia made a diving save to deny Krzystof Krol.

Zaher buried his shot in the bottom right corner to make it 2-0 to Charleston, and then Wilman Conde smashed Chicago's third PK onto the crossbar.

The responsibility fell to player/assistant coach Fuller, who slotted neatly past Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson to propel the Battery into the next round.

The Battery heads to Richmond on Saturday as it returns to USL-2 action with a 1 p.m. game against the Richmond Kickers.