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D.C. United has work to do after falling 2-0 in Mexico

Washington, D.C., February 25, 2015 – There was plenty to be encouraged about during most of D.C. United’s match on the road in Querataro, Mexico on Tuesday evening in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal matchup. Despite it being the first game in anger in 2015 for the Black-and-Red and also playing at 6,000 feet altitude, United acquitted themselves much better than anyone was expecting through the first 70 minutes of the match.

Unfortunately soccer matches are 90 minutes long and a pair of goals from Yerson Candelo and Edgar Benitez thirteen minutes apart late in the match put the Mexican side up 2-0 and in the drivers seat before the return leg at RFK Stadium on Tuesday evening.

United were not without their chances to spoil the party however. After a very suspect preseason in Florida in which the results weren’t exactly eye opening, United put the sword to the home side only to see their goalkeeper Tiago Volpi pull off his best Bill Hamid impersonation. Volpi came up with a number of saves at point-blank range, three alone on United defender Steve Birnbaum, to keep his side in the game.

United were predictably cautious in the games first twenty minutes but then went on to garner most of the games most dangerous chances over the next 50 minutes. Volpi easily claimed a number of long-range efforts from United (9 shots on goal total) during that span but it was his pair of double-saves and a kindly crossbar that kept United from taking a surprise lead.

Luciano Acosta’s 20-yard effort late in the first half was well saved by Volpi only to see the rebound come to Fabian Espindola who’s low shot was also smothered by Volpi. Fast forward to the second half and Taylor Kemp nearly scored the goal of his life in the 60th minute. Kemp, who is more left-footed than even the legendary Marco Etcheverry at times, cut inside from his left back position and unleashed a 24-yard curling right-footed rocket that had Volpi beat by a mile only to see the crossbar keep the ball out of the net.

A few minutes later Volpi once again pulled off his double-magic when he thwarted a Birnbaum header from 6 yards out from a Nick DeLeon throw in. Birnbaum reacted quicker than his defending counterpart and lashed a left-footed blast that Volpi barely got a paw on to send out for a corner kick.

This was the height of United’s frustration on the evening. First game of the season, high altitude and quickly tiring players meant that United had effectively wasted any opportunity of getting a solid result to take back to DC.

Sure enough, less than two minutes later the home side were ahead when Yerson Candelo unleashed an unstoppable shot from 20 yards out that gave goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra no chance. Substitute Rob Vincent seemed hesitant to close out Candelo and by the time Dykstra saw the shot, it was too late.

That goal effectively took whatever wind was left in United’s sails and they gave up a bad goal in the 83rd minute with some tired defending. Rookie midfielder Julian Bueschler was inexplicably inattentive when Mexican maestro Sinha had the ball near midfield. The Brazilian born Mexican international turned towards United’s goal but Bueschler turned the other direction and allowed Querataro’s playmaker to loft a pass over a surprisingly high defensive line from United. Sean Franklin made an attempt to head the ball clear but was not anywhere near close enough to stop the run from midfielder Edgar Benitez who ghosted in on goal and beat Dykstra to his near post for the 2-0 lead.

While a 2-0 lead is not the end of the world, a 1-0 deficit would have been slightly easier to overturn in Washington. As it stands, if United can put forth a similar effort, there is no reason to believe they can’t overturn the lead with some better finishing.

Perhaps the most impressive thing that one could take from Tuesday’s nights effort was that United had 9 shots on goal in a road match in Mexico. You could have totaled up United’s last five road games in MLS last season and they wouldn’t have totaled 9 shots on goal. Hell, you can even throw in the home leg against Red Bull at RFK last November too (they had zero shots on goal in that game).

You can attribute this to the addition of Acosta to United’s lineup. He’s a game-changer folks. He won’t put up Giovinco-type numbers but he will most definitely affect games in MLS this season. That in itself is a reason to be a little optimistic. Let’s be honest here, how many of us were expecting a similar result to what we witnessed last winter in Saprissa?

Granted a 2-goal deficit is not going to be easy considering that Querataro will most likely put numbers behind the ball and force United to break them down. Not exactly a strength of recent D.C. United squads. However, perhaps the performance in Mexico on Tuesday night has changed the mentality of this group of players.

It remains to be seen..

 

1st Leg deficit too much to overcome as United are bounced from Champions League despite 2-1 win over Alajuelense

Hoping to overturn a 5-2 deficit from the first leg of D.C. United’s quarterfinal matchup with Alajuelense proved too difficult as United dropped the aggregate score series 6-4, despite United’s 2-1 victory at soggy RFK Stadium.

Eerily similar to the situation that saw United eliminated from the MLS Cup playoffs last November (United trailed New York Red Bull by 2-0 heading into the second leg at RFK), United did have an outside chance of pulling off a miracle by virtue of picking up two goals in last weeks defeat in Alajula, Costa Rica. United would have needed a 3-0 or 4-1 victory to win the series outright by the away goals rule.

However that hopeful scenario never materialized for the Black-and-Red. United did take the lead when Jairo Arrieta tallied his first goal for United in the 36th minute when he picked up a botched clearance and slotted his shot home past Alajuelense goalkeeper Dexter Lewis. Buoyed by the goal, United pushed forward in the physical affair which saw multiple yellow cards handed out just in the first half alone.

After the break United’s hopes for advancement were effectively dashed when the visitors leveled the match in the 71st minute. A poor clearance from defender Chris Korb, a last-minute substitution for Taylor Kemp who picked up a slight groin strain in warm-ups, allowed a sliver of a chance and midfielder Johan Veneges took advantage and ricochet his shot off of Korb and past a helpless Bill Hamid in goal.

With the life of the series drained out of United they did press on and if not for some rather pedestrian refereeing from Guatemalan head man Walter Lopez, United could have made a real go at pulling off the upset. There were at least three to four good penalty claims for United inside the last 20 minutes of the match with only the last claim being called by Lopez as Chris Rolfe was dragged down right in front of goal when he was in prime position to finish a Conor Doyle cross.

Fabian Espindola stepped up and easily scored the penalty to give United the final margin of victory. United won the battle on the day but lost the War to their Costa Rican opponents.

United now will turn their attention towards their MLS season-opening match just three days away when they host the Montreal Impact on Saturday afternoon at 3pm. Ironically, had United pulled off this miracle comeback, they would be facing the very same Impact in the semi-final round. The Impact produced their own miracle with a 94th minute goal in their 1-1 draw with Pachuca last night to eliminate the Mexican side.

The match on Saturday was in serious jeopardy of not being played at all as the Collective Bargaining Agreement talks between the Owners and the MLS Players Union were in overtime in Washington, D.C. However, a deal in prinicipal was struck just minutes before tonight’s match kicked off and the 2015 MLS season will begin as scheduled on Friday night when the Chicago Fire take on the Los Angeles Galaxy in Carson, California.

United will have to now make do without their talisman leader Espindola as he begins a six-game suspension for his shoving incident of an assistant referee when United were eliminated by Red Bull at RFK last November.

United completely outclassed in Costa Rica; Advancement in dire straits

While the list of advantages not in D.C. United’s favor were many heading into the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal knockout round against LD Alajuelense, the bottom line is that they were completely outclassed in all facets of the game in their 5-2 loss tonight in Alajuela, Costa Rica.

Alajuelense put United under siege inside the first twenty minutes and were 2-0 up before Fabian Espindola gave the Black-and-Red brief hope with a 27th minute goal. Just two minutes later though, an Andrew Dykstra mistake, one of many in his start in place of the injured Bill Hamid, pushed the lead back to two goals and the home side never looked back.

Alajeulense extended the lead to 4-1 early in the second half to nearly put the tie out of reach, but Steve Birnbaum’s first goal for United in the 88th minute gave United a real lifeline heading into next Wednesday’s return leg at RFK Stadium as United had scored an all-important second road goal. However that feeling lasted for about 30 seconds, just long enough for Alajuelense to come right back down the field and capitalize on a poor Birnbaum clearance to extent the lead to the final scoreline of 5-2.

Now United’s prospects of moving on into the semi-final round of the CCL have taken a serious blow. United will now have to win by a 3-0 scoreline to advance past Alajuelense. Given that United looked so porous defensively this evening, one can’t really expect that result to come to fruition.

Going into the match United has a litany of factors working against them. United was playing their first competitive match since losing in the MLS Playoffs last November while Alajuelense was 10 games deep into their season. United were playing on the road in Costa Rica against one of the stingiest defensive teams in recent years in this competition (kudos to them for actually scoring twice, a feat not pulled off by any opponent in a long time in the CCL in Alajuela) and United were missing at least four starters including late scratches Bill Hamid and Markus Halsti.

The absence of Hamid loomed largest as Dykstra folded under the pressure in spite of a strong opening 14 minutes. Within the next 14 minutes Dykstra had committed an unnecessary penalty and subsequent PK goal and spilled a harmless cross right into the path of an Alajuelense player to easily poke into the empty net and essentially kill off the match and most likely the two-legged series.

Would Hamid have made a difference? Most likely yes but we’ll never know now if sitting Hamid out in this first leg cost United the chance to advance to the semi-finals. While that particular point can be argued ad nauseam on various message boards or on podcasts, the cold hard truth tonight was that D.C. United was completely and embarrassingly outclassed on every level.

United will get their opportunity to push their own home-field advantage next Wednesday in the cold March temperatures in D.C. Will that be enough to turn it around? Not likely unfortunately.

Stranger things have happened however….

United cap perfect Champions League group play with 1-0 win in Panama

D.C. United capped off a perfect group stage in the CONCACAF Champions League stage with their 4th win in four matches, this time a narrow 1-0 win over Tauro FC in Panama City, Panama tonight. As a result, United is now booked for a top seed in the upcoming knockout stages of the tournament which will begin in early 2015.

It’s unknown at this point which of the top four seeds United could command, but they can’t do any worse than the fourth seed as there are only three other teams that could possibly match United’s perfect 4-0 record in group play. Those matches are being played tonight through Thursday to determine which teams finish where.

Armed only with thirteen reserve players and rent-a-goalie from the MLS Player Pool, United eked out a 1-0 win through some good fortune as Conor Shanosky scored the game’s only goal in the 24th minute when a routine clearance from a free kick ricocheted off the Homegrown players face and into the goal.

Not surprisingly, both squads put out complete reserve sides and the early played dictated as much. Shanosky’s goal pushed United in front in the 24th minute as United started to take control of the match. However, the home side turned the tables in the last quarter hour and pushed the tempo but rarely forced any saves from United goalkeeper Joe Willis.

After the break, it was United who was bossing the play and they have should have doubled their advantage on numerous opportunities but were lax in their approach play and couldn’t find that final pass to unlock the Tauro defense.

It appeared that United did take a 2-0 lead midway through the second half but Collin Martin’s goal was ruled out for being offside after Lewis Neal’s one-time volley was parried into the path of Martin. Replays showed the call to be the correct one, a rarity for the far side linesman who called United offside multiple times though they appeared to be onside on most of those calls.

Regardless, United kept the pressure on the hosts and finally pulled back into a defensive shell in the last ten minutes and found themselves very fortunate to keep the clean sheet when Willis pulled off a stunning one-handed save in stoppage time to preserve the match.

United will now travel back to D.C. tomorrow and rejoin the rest of the squad who were home resting for their final league match this Saturday afternoon in Montreal. With a win over the Impact and a Seattle home win over the Los Angeles Galaxy, United will move up to the #2 overall seed by virtue of their tie-breaking number of league wins over the Galaxy. Both teams currently sit on 17 wins. United will know by the second half of their match exactly what they will need as the Sounders/Galaxy tilt is kicking off an hour before their match starts at 4pm EST.

Eddie Johnson

United advances to knockout round of CONCACAF Champions League with 2-0 win over Tauro FC

Second-half goals from Chris Pontius and Eddie Johnson (above, photo: Tony Quinn.) were more than enough to propel D.C. United into the knockout round of the 2014-2015 CONCACAF Champions League after their comfortable 2-0 win over Tauro FC of Panama last night at soggy RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.

Needing only one point to win Group 4, United had to wait through a somber first half before Chris Pontius’ 49th minute header provided the only goal United would need. Eddie Johnson would double the lead in the 53rd minute after some attractive build up play and United were well on their way to advancing to next Spring’s knockout quarterfinal round.

Ben Olsen once again decided to employ a reserve side, just as he did in their opening group match at RFK against Waterhouse FC in August. This time however, in spite of a long feeling out period in the first half, United were in control of the match from the kickoff and twice nearly got the opening goal in the first forty-five.

Pontius’ header from an Alex Caskey cross in the 11th minute nearly opened the scoring for the Black-and-Red. United’s best opportunity though came on a free kick in the 38th minute. With Pontius over the ball from 25-yards out, he rolled the ball to his right where Jared Jeffrey unleashed a rocket that crashed off the crossbar before finally being cleared out by the Tauro FC defense.

After the break United would strike when Samuel Inkoom’s inch-perfect cross from the right sideline met the forehead of Pontius who easily beat Tauro goalkeeper Erick Hughes for the 1-0 lead. This was the second match in a row that an Inkoom cross from the flank resulted in a United goal in this competition when he assisted on Fabian Espindola’s opener in last week’s 2-1 win in Jamaica over Waterhouse FC. The goal was Pontius’ first goal since an MLS league match in September of 2013 last season.

Johnson, who subbed in for Pontius who is still trying to build his fitness after nearly a year off from injury, benefited from some sparkling approach play in the 53rd minute to put the game out of reach for the Panamanian visitors. Alex Caskey received a ball in the middle of the field and immediately pushed the ball out to Inkoom. Inkoom then found David Estrada running deep into the penalty area. With a Tauro FC defender draped all over him, Estrada one-timed a lovely back heel into the path of Johnson who clinically finished off the underside of the crossbar. Johnson has missed the last three league matches and the match in Jamaica last week dealing with concussion symptoms and came into the match wearing concussion headgear.

With the match all but over, United simply passed their way in an around their opponents and probably should have banked a third goal in the 90th minute but Estrada somehow managed to side foot a cross from Johnson wide of the empty net in front of him.

Never the less, United is off to the quarterfinal round which will begin in late February/early March of 2015. United still has one more match to play and could wrap up a top seed with a win in Tauro in mid-October. No doubt with passage secured to the next round, Olsen will once again bring a team of reserves to keep the legs fresh for his normal starters as the MLS season winds to a close in October.

Up next for United is a home match on Saturday afternoon against the Philadelphia Union at 3:50pm EST. This match will be televised nationally on NBCSN beginning at 3:30pm EST.

Early goal enough for United in CONCACAF Champions League opener

D.C. United’s return to the CONCACAF Champions League was a successful one as Eddie Johnson’s early goal held up in their 1-0 victory over Jamaican side Waterhouse FC last night at RFK Stadium.

The win for United puts them in a first place tie with Waterhouse FC at 3 points while Tauro FC of Panama sits at the bottom of Group 4 with zero points. United will play Waterhouse FC in Jamaica in two weeks before wrapping up group play with a home-and-home series with Tauro in September and October.

With United in the midst of a grueling schedule of 5 games in 15 days, head coach Ben Olsen changed out his entire starting X1 from Saturday’s 4-2 league win over Colorado at RFK. Johnson is the only nominal starter for Olsen’s squad to make the lineup and that had everything to do with Johnson serving a two-match suspension in league play.

That bit of misfortune benefited the Black-and-Red as they jumped out to an early lead in just the fifth minute. Conor Shanosky’s long ball over the defense of Waterhouse FC found David Estrada in stride. Estrada pulled back a pass right to the penalty spot where Johnson slammed the ball into the roof of the net just as the goalkeeper was coming out to snuff out the pass.

After that point the match devolved into a series of half-chances and near misses for both sides, with very little creativity being shown not surprisingly as United did have an entirely makeshift lineup on the field which included Nana Attakora and Alex Caskey manning the outside fullback positions.

United had multiple opportunities late in the match to extend their lead but settled for a stout defense in claiming their first win in the CCL since beating Marathon of Honduras 3-0 in the fall of 2009.

United now turns their attention to a very difficult trio of matches that begins with a Saturday/Wednesday road trip to Sporting Kansas City and the Los Angeles Galaxy respectively. Olsen’s gamble to go with mainly reserves has given his taxed squad an opportunity now to take points from two venues where points have been at a premium in recent years.

United acquires defender Kofi Opari from Los Angeles

D.C. United acquired central defender Kofi Opari today in a trade with the Los Angeles Galaxy. United is in need of central defense depth in light of the news that Jeff Parke may be out for a significant amount of time due to migraine headache issues.

United obtained the 23-year old defender in exchange for a swapping of Allocation Order picks with the Galaxy. The Galaxy move up to the 3rd spot in the allocation order whilst United drops to 11th. Additionally, United also received a 2015 2nd Round SuperDraft pick to complete the exchange.

“We are pleased to have acquired a smart, young defender in Kofi who has a very big upside, as well as securing a 2015 second round Superdraft pick,” said D.C. United General Manager Dave Kasper through the teams website. “This is an important move for us to make at this time to add depth to our squad as we enter the second half of the MLS season and the CONCACAF Champion’s League group stage. We welcome Kofi to the D.C. United family.”

With the addition of Opare, United becomes that much deeper in central defense with the assumed loss of Parke for the near future. With a glut of matches in the upcoming month, including CONCACAF Champions League matches, Opari wll most likely jump to third in the depth chart behind entrenched starters Bobby Boswell and rookie Steve Birnbaum and ahead of Nana Attakora and Conor Shanosky, both of whom have not played a minute for United in league play this season.

Opare  has made a number of appearances for the Galaxy the last two seasons including starting both playoff matches last season. Opare played four years in college at the University of Michigan before being selected by the Galaxy last year.

Opare played for the U.S. U-20 National Team recently but is still eligible to represent Canada and Ghana if he so chooses.

United receives favorable draw in CCL; Johnson red card rescinded

D.C. United were drawn into a favorable group this evening at the CONCACAF Champions League draw in Miami, Florida

United will face Panamanian champions Tauro FC and Waterhouse FC from Jamaica.  The group stage consists of 24 teams in 8 groups and is a round-robin competition with only the group winner advancing to the knockout stages that will begin early in 2015. United is the #2 seed in Group 4. Tauro FC has been a mainstay in recent CCL competitions while the Black-and-Red have been out of the CCL since 2009. Waterhouse FC in Jamaica will be playing for the first time in the competition.

United, along with five other MLS teams will begin competition later this summer as the dates have yet to announced. The draw was quite favorable for United as they avoided tough CONCACAF squads such as Saprissa of Costa Rica and Municipal of Guatemala. No U.S. based MLS teams or Mexican teams can be drawn in the group stages. However, the Canadian champion (first leg final is tonight between Montreal Impact and Toronto FC) is drawn into New York Red Bulls Group 3.

Sporting Kansas City is the top seed in Group 2 but were unfortunate to draw Saprissa into their group. The Portland Timbers are the #2 seed in Group 5 and will face off against Olimpia of Honduras and very lightly regarded Alpha United FC.

All in all, United has a more than favorable chance to advance to the knockout stages in 2015

In other United news, MLS has rescinded the red card given to Eddie Johnson over the weekend against the New England Revolution and will be available to play this weekend at RFK Stadium against Sporting Kansas City. That match will begin at 7pm EST and will be televised locally on CSNWashington.

DC United's captain, Dwayne DeRosario (right) and Coach Ben Olsen, lift the 2013 US Open Cup Trophy. Photo Tony Quinn

U.S. Open Cup Final – United at Real Salt Lake: OMG! Open Cup #3 for United as they stun RSL 1-0

“That’s why they play the game”

This often-used sports cliche is no truer this evening than it was nearly 90 years ago when it was first uttered by legendary baseball manager Casey Stengel.

D.C. United (above photo: Tony Quinn) stunned the American soccer world this evening with an improbable 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake in the 100th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final in Sandy, Utah. The win for United, it’s 3rd Open Cup title (in addition to 1996 and 2008 wins) and 13th major piece of hardware, was the unlikeliest of all considering their enormous underdog status heading into the match.

After all the 2013 version of United is teetering on inclusion on the short list of one of the worst teams MLS has ever seen in it’s 17-year history. Yet, in spite of them sitting 17 places behind RSL in the MLS standings, they came to Utah with nothing to lose and found a way to gut out what will no doubt be a famous 1-0 win. Lewis Neal’s 45th minute strike gave United all they would need on a night that saw them put for the the type of effort it’s been missing in league play all season long. In this Open Cup competition, United went 4-0-1 including beating four MLS teams, the last two of which were road wins in Chicago and tonight’s effort in Sandy, Utah. This of course is in stark contrast to their road efforts in MLS this season where they are a staggering 0-13-3 in 16 matches.

Head coach Ben Olsen has been making a point for about 4-5 weeks now about his team building towards the Open Cup final. Considering United has long been out of any type of playoff chase, this was easy enough to believe. However, United’s league play over the past 4-5 weeks gave no indication that United would be giving the heavily-favored RSL much of a match. That’s exactly what United gave them.

Stout defending and opportunistic movements going forward were pretty much the game plan for United. Frustrate RSL and hope they start to feel the pressure. For 45 minutes it worked like a charm. While RSL was certainly dictating the tempo of the match (nearly 70% of possession), they really didn’t garner any dangerous chances in the first forty-five minutes aside from a rasping drive from Joao Plata that sailed high and tight past Bill Hamid’s near post.

Then United struck against the run of play (below) in the 45th minute to put all kinds of doubt in the minds of RSL’s heavily favored squad. John Thorrington turned two RSL defenders deep along the left side of the penalty area and hit a dangerous ball into the area. The ball caromed off RSL defender Carlos Salcedo and right into the path of Lewis Neal who plowed his left-footed shot past Nick Rimando and into the far side of the goal for an improbable 1-0 lead for the Black-and-Red.

Real Salt Lake continued their heavy pressure throughout the remainder of the match but United by all rights should have been a man up in second-half stoppage time when Nick Rimando desperately came 40 yards out of his goal to take down United forward Conor Doyle but incredibly the game official only issued a yellow-card to Rimando and kept RSL at full strength.

United held off RSL twice in the dying seconds of the match when Hamid came up big in the net corralling a half-bike attempt from RSL substitute Devon Sandoval and then somehow managing to gather a loose ball that almost deflected into his goal via a touch from team mate Luis Silva with just seconds to spare.

After Hamid sent his punt flying, United’s bench poured out onto the field in celebration as the most unlikely of scenarios came to fruition this evening in Sandy, Utah. People now will start to question the heart of RSL as they have now lost two major championship matches on their home field. Tonight’s loss to United and their 1-0 loss to Monterrey in the final of the CONCACAF Champions League in April of 2012 when only a draw against the Mexican giants would have seen MLS’ first true continental champion.

That’s why the play the game..

With the win, incredibly, United now has secured a spot in the 2014-2015 CONCACAF Champions League. United, on the brink of becoming one of the poorest teams in recent MLS memory, will have an opportunity in the summer of 2014 to start a journey to become Champions of CONCACAF.

United now will somehow attempt to turn their attention to the remaining four MLS matches to play beginning on Friday night at RFK Stadium when they welcome the Chicago Fire to town.

 

 

United holds on for impressive 1-1 draw at Toluca; Now must play waiting game

Chris Pontius’ 6th minute golazo gave D.C. United an early first half lead and United held on bravely through a dominating Toluca attack and conceded the equalizer in the 61st minute on a penalty conversion from substitute Israel Lopez.

United, playing with many regular starters either back home in Washington, D.C. or on the bench, survived an early onslaught from the home side in the first five minutes before Pontius’ strike from 30 yards silenced the crowd. Luciano Emilio won a 50-50 ball and it bounced into the path of Pontius who chested it forward and then unleashed a laser precise finish into the near side netting to give the Black and Red the early lead. Toluca, playing with a number of reserves themselves, finally figured out there was a match at hand and dominated for the next twenty minutes until United were finally able to gain some possession midway through the first half.

After the break Toluca continued their assault on goal but rarely threatened the ever aware Steve Cronin in net for United. He seemed sharp and on point all night long. United actually had an opportunity in the 58th minute to increase their lead. Substitute Rodney Wallace stole an errant pass in midfield and played a quick one-two with fellow rookie Pontius. The return pass hit Wallace in stride in the penalty area only to see his left-footed blast palmed over the bar by Toluca’s goalkeeper.

Just three minutes later the home side was level when United defender Lawson Vaughn awkwardly fell over Israel Lopez in the penalty area. The 35-year old easily beat Cronin and the match was level at 1-1. United wasn’t finished however and nearly regained the lead in the 63rd minute. Chris Pontius got loose down the right flank and sent a whipped in cross into the box where Devon McTavish’s diving header inched wide of the far post.

Toluca had a few more dangerous opportunities but Steve Cronin was up to the task and now United was wait until Thursday evening when Marathon travels to San Juan Jabloteh for the groups final match. Because of United’s draw, Marathon can only advance with a win due to losing their head-to-head tie-breaker with United.

D.C. United now travels back to town and will prepare for their final match at Kansas City on Saturday evening. United is currently in a four-way tie for the last playoff spot. Seven teams are still alive for the three remaining playoff positions.