DC United whips Marathon in CONCACAF Champions
WASHINGTON -- Luciano Emilio scored twice in the second half to lift D.C. United to a 3-0 CONCACAF Champions League victory over CD Marathon on Thursday night.
Jaime Moreno also scored after halftime -- before later being ejected -- to help United (2-2) boost its chances of advancing from Group B by securing the second standings tiebreaker, head-to-head goals, over Marathon (2-2).
D.C. had not played since Sept. 15 after a stretch of 10 games in 31 days.
"It almost felt like a month compared to what we've been going through," United coach Tom Soehn said. "You could feel that there was a little more energy from our guys. It still wasn't perfect, but it was more of a complete performance than we've had in a while."
That stretch included an earlier meeting where Marathon defeated D.C. 3-1 in Honduras on Aug. 18. Both teams are tied for second-place in the four-team group, with the top two advancing to March's quarterfinals.
Each will face Mexico's Toluca (4-0) Trinidad and Tobago's San Juan Jabloteh (0-4) in their final matches.
"We've had some letdowns but ... we're in it," Marathon's Mariano Acevedo said through a translator. "We're still in the tournament. Our opponent is D.C. United and we have to find a way to advance."
Emilio, who missed several clear first-half chances, scored two minutes after halftime, rising above Marathon's Mario Beata to head Avery John's cross inside the left post.
Eight minutes later, Moreno side-footed his goal to nearly the same spot, after Santino Quaranta laid it back to the Bolivian off Emilio's deflected cross.
It was 3-0 in the 72nd minute when Emilio beat an offsides trap to reach Ben Olsen's throughball and tuck it past Juan Obelar, Marathon's stranded goalkeeper. It was Emilio's third goal in two matches against Marathon.
"I would like to say thank you for Tommy (Soehn) for the confidence," said Emilio, who has underwhelmed with nine goals in 23 MLS games. "He could've took me out after the first 45 minutes, but the guys gave me a lot of confidence, too, and everybody pushed me up."
Marathon's best chances came before halftime, when when D.C.'s Josh Wicks sprawled to his right to push Carlos Mejia's 22-yard blast wide of the post, and later tipped Arnol Solorzano's shot from 30 yards over the bar.
Moreno was ejected in stoppage time for picking up two yellow cards, one for a rough challenge on Marathon's Glen Brown and another for dissent moments later. He will be suspended for United's next Champions League match against San Juan Jabloteh on Wednesday, as will John (yellow-card accumulation).
"I had hoped that the referee would've called the first or second or third foul before it got carried away, so I was a little disappointed with the way he handled it," Soehn said. "But Jaime's reaction wasn't great."
It was a rough end after a rough trip for Marathon, who arrived in Washington early Thursday morning, about 19 hours before kickoff.
The ongoing political coup in Honduras has closed the nation's international airports. Thus Marathon was forced into a six-hour bus ride to Guatemala City, where it took off for Washington via Miami.
With league play this weekend suspended, and a lack of avenues home, Marathon will remain in the United States until at least Monday.