[CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE]
Home and away, D.C. United's failure to close out games has cost it points, of which it has zero after two matches in Group B of the
Concacaf Champions' League. A week after conceding two late goals in San Pedro Sula to lose, 3-1, to Marathon, United suffered the same fate at RFK Stadium Wednesday against Mexican club Toluca.
scored goals six minutes apart to blow open a 1-1 game and punctuate a strong finish by Toluca, which had conceded an equalizer early in the second half and rode
out some sustained pressure from D.C. to regain control of the match.
United rookie Chris Pontius
scored to cancel out an early goal by Vladimir Marin
, who seized upon on
a defensive miscue to score in just the fifth minute. Under pressure from Marin, right back David Habarugira
couldn't clear a dipping cross; the ball glanced off his feet and Marin struck
it past keeper Josh Wicks
D.C. United managed just three shots in the first half and none of them hit the frame. Midfielder Andrew Jacobson
shot wide from distance as
efforts by forwards Jaime Moreno
and Pontius to link with each other or their teammates usually ran around. Coach Tom Soehn
removed Ely Allen
before halftime and brought on
to add impetus on the left side of midfield and also give greater support to the forwards. Santino Quaranta
replaced Moreno at halftime and D.C. surprised Toluca with
a spurt of aggression and energy that produced an equalizer. With Fred sliding inside, Quaranta floated left to swerve an inswinging cross that Pontius lunged between two defenders to head
powerfully into the net.
A physical second half yielded a few rough challenges but also crisp attacks leading to decent chances for Toluca, and occasionally, a D.C. United set play. Free
kicks from Quaranta and Marc Burch
failed to threaten.
In the 52nd minute, Avery John
knocked down Hector Mancilla
in the penalty area without getting close to the
ball but referee Courtney Campbell
chose not to blow the whistle. A few minutes later John collided with Issac Brizuela
as they dueled for the ball and his left shoe accidentally
caught Brizuela in the face.
United keeper Josh Wicks
' brave challenges in the second half thwarted Toluca several times, but he had no chance in the 79th minute. Mancilla,
isolated against Burch on the right side of the box, faked outside and inside, then stepped with the ball outside to drill a great, rising shot far-post. The D.C. keeper flew high to his left a
minute later to deflect a rising shot by Calderon, but the inevitable third goal came nonetheless when Calderon's low cross deflected off Julius James
' foot through the goal area to
Mancilla, who tapped it in. Concacaf Champions League
Aug. 26 in Washington, D.C. D.C. United 1, Toluca 3.
Marin 5; Mancilla (Matias) 79, Mancilla
(Calderon) 85; Pontius (Quaranta) 47. D.C. United -
Wicks, Habarugira (Namoff, 64), James, Burch, John, McTavish, Jacobsen, Simms, Allen (Fred, 34), Pontius, Moreno (Quaranta, 46).
Cristante, Olvera, Duenas, Romagnoli, Almazan, Marin (Calderon, 67), Cruzalta, De La Torres, Matias (Lopez, 84), Brizuela (Esquivel, 68), Mancilla. Referee:
Courtney Campbell. Att.: