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United overpowers Marathon to edge toward second round
September 25th, 2009 7AM



[CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] Luciano Emilio, thwarted several times in the first half, scored twice after the break to lead D.C. United past Honduran club Marathon, 3-0, in the regional championship Thursday at RFK Stadium. By winning, United pulled into a second-place tie with Marathon in Group B. Both teams have 2-0-2 (W-T-L) records and six points with two games to play. Mexican club Toluca (4-0-0, 12 points) increased its lead atop the group Wednesday by slamming San Juan Jabloteh (0-0-4) of Trinidad & Tobago, 3-0.


Jaime Moreno notched United's second goal as D.C. dominated Marathon for long stretches of the match and finished with a 20-9 edge in shots. Referee Silviu Petrescu sent off Moreno in stoppage time after he threw a forearm into the face of Mario Berrios while shielding the ball

United cracked open the Marathon defense several times in the first half without hitting the net. Emilio fluffed a point-blank chance after a Chris Pontius knockdown, volleyed a Ben Olsen corner kick just over the crossbar, and made space for himself to drill a rising shot that goalie Juan Obelar turned over the crossbar. United keeper Josh Wicks matched his counterpart when he dived right to turn away a fierce low shot from Carlos Mejia.

Moreno replaced Tiyi Shipalane late in the first half and right after the break United broke the 0-0 deadlock. In the 47th minute, Avery John overlapped on the left flank and from near the sideline lifted a cross that Emilio, unmarked at the edge of the goal area, headed firmly past Obelar.

Emilio set up the second goal eight minutes later by bursting free on the right side and centering a ball that Santino Quaranta failed to trap cleanly but poked with a second touch to Moreno, who easily beat Obelar.

D.C. tacked on a third goal in the 71st minute when Marathon fell asleep; a Wicks drop-kick carried well into the Marathon half, where Quaranta chested down it down for Olsen, who veered inside to play a through ball that Emilio took past defender Erick Norales and then stroked past Obelar.

Moreno received his red card after fending off two challenges from Berrios. When Berrios came at him from behind a third time, Moreno swung his hips and forearm into Berrios, who fell to the ground and was eventually carried off on a stretcher as players from both teams swirled around Petrescu. The referee cautioned Marathon forward Glen Brown for insisting Moreno be sent off, which he was, with two cautions in rapid succession, not a straight red card.

Another scuffle broke out in the last minute of play when substitute Fernando Castillo forearmed Quaranta in the back of the head as they dueled for a dropping ball but no further cards were issued.

Marathon arrived in the early morning hours following an arduous journey. Political turmoil in Honduras has closed the country's major airports, so the team took a long bus trip into Guatemala, from where it flew to Miami and then to Washington, D.C. The unrest may force Concacaf to move Marathon's home match against Toluca next Thursday out of San Pedro Sula.

In addition to tying the teams in second place, the three-goal victory also gives United the head-to-head tiebreaker edge over Marathon in case the teams finish group play tied on points. Marathon won their first meeting, 3-1, last month. The second tiebreaker is goal difference in matches played between the tied teams.

United hosts San Juan Jabloteh (Trinidad & Tobago) Wednesday at RFK in its penultimate game of the group stage, which concludes next month, during the final week of the MLS regular season. League play for D.C. resumes Sunday at RFK against San Jose.

Concacaf Champions League Group B
Sept 24 in Washington, D.C.
D.C. United 3, Marathon 0.
Goals: Emilio (John) 47, Moreno (Quaranta) 55, Emilio (Olsen) 71.
D.C. United - Wicks; John, James, Vaughn (McTavish, 70), Simms, Wallace, Olsen (Jakovic, 75), Quaranta, Shipalane (Moreno, 43), Pontius, Emilio.
Marathon - Obelar; Lucas (Ramirez, 66), Norales, Beata, Berrios, Solorzano (Castillo, 65, Acevedo, Paz, Mejia (Solis, 75), Brown, Martinez.
Red card: Moreno 91+.
Referee: Silviu Petrescu.
Att.: 5,280.


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