DC United takes home inaugural ATX Pro Challenge title

Jacob Martella

D.C. United’s trophy cabinet has a nice looking piece of hardware in it after this weekend.

No, not the four MLS Cups or the three U.S Open Cups. Instead, it’s the new armadillo trophy from Austin.

A 54th minute  goal by forward Chris Rolfe gave United a 1-0 win over FC Dallas to take the inaugural ATX Pro Challenge and its armadillo trophy Sunday afternoon.

The game started heavily in favor of FC Dallas, who pressured the United defense, getting opportunity after opportunity, but never quite getting the final touch needed to capitalize. Towards the end of the first half, Dallas squared up a shot only for it to be blocked.

But United’s fortune would change early in the second half.

Earning a foul deep in FC Dallas territory, United’s free kick swung in towards the box and bounced around, only to fall to Rolfe. After taking a couple of dribbles, Rolfe drilled a shot from outside the top of the box past FC Dallas keeper Dan Kennedy and into the upper right corner.

FC Dallas would counter, looking for an equalizer for force penalty kicks, but like the first half came up empty in the end. Forward Danny Garcia had a shot in stoppage time with a free kick just outside the box; however, the kick was sent into the wall to seal the United win.

Meanwhile, in the consolation game, the hometown Austin Aztex again ran into tough competition against their MLS counterparts, the Columbus Crew.

The Aztex settled for a defensive game, allowing the Crew to control the majority of the possession, and looked for the counterattack. But the counterattack proved ineffective as bad passes and turnovers stymied most of Austin’s chances.

But as the game appeared set to go to penalty kicks, Columbus defender Chad Barson got enough of the ball off of a cross to sneak it by Austin keeper Cody Laurendi to take the win.

Austin will open up its inaugural USL Pro season at home on March 28 against Colorado Springs. FC Dallas and Columbus will open up their competitive seasons on March 7 while D.C. United will play two CONCACAF Champions League match before opening up its season on March 7 as well.