[CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE]
United coach Tom Soehn
used a few new faces and four in the back to extract a result out of San Pedro Sula, and it nearly
worked. But a spirited effort fell short, and late goals five minutes apart by Jerry Palacios
and Mario Berrios
swept Honduran club Marathon past D.C. United, 3-1,
in the Concacaf Champions' League Group C opener Tuesday night.
Trailing 1-0 at halftime from a goal by Walter Martinez
in the 23rd minute on a ball that skipped under
the foot of defender Greg Janicki
as he tried to clear it, United jumped back to equalize early in the second half with a goal by Luciano Emilio
, a veteran of
Honduran soccer with Real Espana and Olimpia, in the 48th minute.
The halftime insertion of Santino Quaranta
, who replaced Jaime Moreno
kick-start the United attack. Quaranta's corner kick swerved to defender Julius James
, acquired from Houston earlier in the week, and his sharp header forced a save by keeper
. The rebound popped into the air, and Emilio took a fierce clash of heads from defender Erick Norales
as he nodded in the equalizer.
saved again a few minutes later, parrying a diving header by Devon McTavish
from another Quaranta serve out for a corner kick. Marathon, urged forward by its roaring, chanting fans,
pushed ahead in the 83rd minute when former Galaxy attacker Guillermo "Pando" Ramirez
lofted a ball that Mitchell Brown
directed into goalmouth for Palacios, who cut
inside Janicki to tap it into the net.
A 2-1 defeat wouldn't have been a terrible result in so tough an environment, but Marathon swarmed forth in the final minutes after Obelar
snuffed a good opportunity that Quaranta couldn't finish.
Referee Elmer Bonilla whistled Janicki for a foul in the penalty area and goalie Josh Wicks jolted his
teammates by saving Berrios's shot. But Bonilla ordered a re-kick, judging correctly that two United players had encroached, and though Wicks picked the correct side again Berrios' second shot flashed
over him high into the net.
In addition to James, Soehn gave starting assignments to former Galaxy midfielder Ely Allen and David Habarugira. All
three had been acquired in the past month during a midseason reshuffling.
Concacaf Champions' League
Aug. 18 in San Pedro Sula
D.C. United 1.
Goals: Martinez (Sabillon) 23, Palacios (Brown) 83, Berrios (penalty kick) 88; Emilio (Quaranta) 48.
Marathon - Obelar,
Sabillion, Norales, Beata, Berrios, Acevedo (Ramirez, 73), Castillo (Brown, 60), Rodriguez (Paz, 68), Martinez, Scott, Palacios.
D.C. United -- Wicks, Habarugira (Simms,
75), Janicki, James, John; McTavish, Olsen, Jacobson, Allen (Wallace, 58); Moreno (Quaranta, 46), Emilio.
Referee: Elmer Bonilla.