[CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE]
Sometimes failure can be chalked up as a learning experience and if so, D.C. United has learned it needs great improvement to compete in
Despite missing the MLS playoffs, D.C. will compete in the 2009-10 CCL competition as U.S. Open Cup winner. A 4-2 loss to Honduran club Marathon Wednesday night at RFK Stadium
left the four-time MLS champion with just one point from its six Concacaf Champions' League matches and a goal difference of minus-9 (four scored, 13 conceded).
o and Bryan Namoff
were among the players absent, and midfielder Santino Quaranta
's expulsion left United shorthanded for the entire second half, triggering waves
of attacks on the United goal manned by Zach Wells
in place of the suspended Louis Crayton
Striker Francis Doe
(10th minute) and defender Greg Janicki
(61st) scored for United, but in-between Marathon scored three goals, including one by former Miami Fusion forward Saul Martinez
, and knocked in a fourth midway through the second
half. Mario Berrios, Martin Chavez
, and former Honduran international Milton "Tyson" Nunez
all scored, and Nunez picked up two assists more than seven years after scoring
twice at RFK in a 3-2 victory for his country against the USA in a World Cup qualifier. Fred
played in central midfield with Quaranta and Ivan Guerrero
on the flanks in
support of Doe and Boyzzz Khumalo
up top. Quaranta set up the first goal with a cross that was deflected onto the goalpost and fell nicely for Doe smack it into the net.
began the match with solid hopes of clinching a quarterfinal place and more than 20 minutes of intermittent pressure paid off when Nunez chipped a ball that Martinez steered past Wells.
A Doe shot hit the outside of the post a few minutes later and both teams stepped up the tempo, and the foul count, rather than settle for a 1-1 deadlock at halftime. Doe and Oscar Bonilla
squabbled and were cautioned by referee Benito Archundia
, who then sanctioned Quaranta for fouling Berrios in the United half of the field. Quaranta's protest prompted a second yellow and
Marathon needed the briefest of periods to exploit the man advantage. Berrios intercepted a United half-clearance and hit a dipping shot into the top corner. Time elapsed
since kick-off: 24 seconds.
Nunez tapped home the rebound of a saved Martinez shot eight minutes later. Janicki netted his first goal for D.C. by collecting a flicked free kick under
pressure and driving it into the net.
Minutes after coming on as a sub, Luciano Emilio
combined with Doe and Fred to open up the Marathon defense again, but no shot resulted and
Marathon launched a counterattack. Nunez's pass beat the retreating United defenders and Chavez shot low to score.
A final United chance fell to Doe and keeper Juan Angel
stymied him stylishly. Perhaps frustrated by that save, and certainly irritated at Marathon's success in keeping possession despite heavy D.C. challenges, a high kick by Doe caused
Archundia to issue his second red card of the evening for serious foul play.
Marathon's victory assured it of a quarterfinal slot, as it sits in a three-way tie atop Group A with 10
points, the same total accrued by Deportivo Saprissa and Cruz Azul. It holds the head-to-head tiebreaker advantage over Cruz Azul, which concluded its schedule by losing 1-0 to Deportivo Saprissa.
Marathon and Saprissa conclude group play next week; Saprissa will advance with a tie.