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D.C. United Pursues Twin Goals, September 24th, 2009 4:15PM



On Thursday, D.C. United has a chance to end its dismal run of Champions League failure. United hosts Honduran club CD Marathon (8 pm ET, Fox Soccer Channel & Galavision) in a match likely to determine second place, and which team advances, in CCL Group B. After starting 0-2 in group play, including a 3-1 defeat away to Marathon while fielding a largely reserve squad, United rebounded with a 1-0 win over San Juan Jabloteh. "Obviously losing that game over at their place, on a day where I thought we performed pretty well, leaves a bitter taste in your mouth," said Coach Tom Soehn of his team's Aug. 28 loss in Honduras, "and now you get to get them in your building and take care of business here."

A win would draw United even with Marathon in second place on six points while giving United a good chance to nip the Honduran side to a berth in the next round. But United needs to score some goals, as the tournament's tie-breaking system relies on head-to-head records and then head-to-head goal differential. United has enjoyed more than a week's rest since last Tuesday's triumph in Trinidad, ending a grueling stretch of 10 games over the previous month and offering a welcome opportunity for the squad "to get themselves ready for our next battle," in Soehn's words. With five consecutive home games upcoming in league and Champions League play, D.C. can take major strides toward the twin goals of MLS playoff and CCL knockout stage competition in the next few weeks.

"We're looking forward to it," said Soehn, "knowing that we're still alive and in a pretty good spot with our Champions League games -- and obviously we know the importance of our league games. I've said this before: we need to take care of our own results."


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