Emilio's two goals for DC United — getting assists from Jaime Moreno and Christian Gomez — in a ragged, yet mostly energetic display gave it a 3-2 win over his former club, CD Olimpia of Honduras before 8,181 at a soggy RFK Stadium.
The win allowed United to advance to the CONCACAF Champions Cup semifinals against Chivas of Guadalajara with a 7-3 aggregate win. The first leg begins March 15, 8 p.m. at RFK.
"I think you look at the opportunities we create and the people that are creating them," said United coach Tom Soehn. "Luciano is a great addition to our club, he works really hard. He gets on the end of a lot of balls and with Christian and Jaime feeding him, I might even score a couple goals if I had that kind of service."
Emilio, along with Gomez, finished the quarterfinal series with three goals.
"I'm happy that I was able to score against them," Emilio said of scoring against his former club. "I really don't yet feel that killer instinct against them."
Olimpia threatened United's defense on numerous occasions, especially in the first half, and it was rewarded with a 30th minute penalty from Hendry Thomas after Bryan Namoff's foul in the 18-yard box. Thomas beat United goalkeeper Troy Perkins to the left corner (aggregate United 4-2).
Emilio and Jaime Moreno combined to keep the aggregate margin at three in the 37th minute. Moreno, in the box, slipped a pass back to Emilio, who, going to his left, split four defenders before slipping a left-footed shot past Olimpia goalkeeper Noel Valladares.
Moreno, Emilio and Gomez have all meshed well from the start, something that doesn't surprise Emilio.
"We clicked right on — off the field as well," Emilio said, adding that "it's been an easy transition to play with them."
Just after halftime, Ben Olsen won a penalty for United, which Gomez converted in the 49th minute to the left corner to increase United's aggregate lead to four goals.
United's biggest concern of the evening will likely be Perkins' injury. He pulled up lame with what was announced as a right quadriceps strain in the 67th minute.
Backup goalkeeper Jay Nolly replaced him, and, on his first test eight minutes after coming in, had Olimpia's Jose Pacini beat him from the top left of the six-yard box. Pacini took Wilson Palacios' pass following a United defensive miscue and beat an onrushing Nolly.
Emilio scored his second goal of the night in the 84th minute, taking a pass from Gomez and beating Valladares from the top left of the six-yard box.
While Soehn can be pleased by the offensive display, particularly of his South American trio of Gomez, Moreno and Emilio, his flank defending and midfielding play should give him cause for concern. Several dangerous Olimpia crosses, particularly in the first half, went wanting.
Also, Namoff's foul in the box led to Olimpia's penalty. And, while Facundo Erpen shows little hesitancy in his tackling, he also shows little hesitancy in ill-advised passes.
A defensive gift led to Olimpia's second goal as well.
Olsen is fully aware of the breakdowns.
"There's still some things I think, defensively, we need to work on and maybe mentally we were a bit lax because of the goal differential," Olsen said, "but the goals we gave them, I mean it's just that, we gave them those goals, they didn't really earn 'em, so we have to fix that."
Olsen does note Emilio's positive, and at times humorous, contribution, though, on and off the field, as the new forward is already hip to Johnson's signature call.
Emilio is already having a positive, and humorous, impact in the locker room, and judging by his display last night, he's going to leave an equally positive impression with the RFK faithful.
For Emilio, it's in the net indeed.
Notes: El Diablo, Marco Etcheverry, will work for United as a special consultant to team president Kevin Payne. Etcheverry will be involved with scouting, working as a liaison with Latin American countries and will represent United in the U.S. and abroad. … United and Comcast have reached a four-year deal to broadcast matches, including an 18-match slate this season. all home matches will be shown in high definition.