- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 13, 2008

If they win the SuperLiga tournament, they will see little of the $1 million in prize money.

However, the reality was that a depleted United team was beaten by a tactically superior one as United lost 2-1 Mexican club CD Guadalajara. The game was first of Group A play at RFK Stadium on Saturday night.

The game was delayed 19 minutes when the stadium lights went out in the 59th minute at 9:20 p.m, but the break didn’t help United.

“The momentum had really changed,” United coach Tom Soehn said. “I was very disappointed when the lights went out because it gave them a chance to recuperate.”

The score might have been worse, if not for United goalie Zach Wells playing one of his better games. Even at his best, Wells couldn’t stop Gonzalo Pineda’s brilliant game-winner — a free kick in 72nd minute.

United did show some promise, fighting back late in the game. Luciano Emilio gave United hope with a fine goal in 76th minute, but Jaime Moreno missed a penalty kick seconds later.

“It’s not too often that a keeper is going to stop a Jaime PK,” Soehn said.

United was at a homefield disadvantage, with Guadalajara — nicknamed Chivas (Goats) — fans outnumbering United ones in the crowd of 22,453.

The eight-team SuperLiga matches the best MLS teams against the top Mexican clubs. The winner receives $1 million.

However, on Saturday the MLS player’s union accused the league of “misleading” the players over the actual money they will receive if they win the second-year tournament. According to the union, if an MLS team wins, it would receive just $150,000, with the players earning roughly $5,300 each, while a Mexican team would split the entire prize.

United had the best early chance when Emilio hit the Chivas post in the eight minute with a blistering shot.

But Chivas scored first, when Omar Rivera skipped passed defender Bryan Namoff and rounded Wells to score from a tight angle in the 24th minute. Then the game was all Chivas, with United struggling to gain possession.

Emilio then wasted an indirect free kick inside Chivas’ 18-yard box after the goalie had illegally handled a back-pass.

The Brazilian put United back in the game in 76th minute when, with his back to the goal, he split two Chivas defenders and shot from eight yards for the final margin.

With less than a minute gone Emilio won a penalty kick after being pulled down just inside the box. But the usually reliable Moreno, who has converted a record 37 penalty kicks in MLS games, watched goalie Ernesto Michel easily save his shot.

Rod Dyachenko replaced injured attacking-midfielder Marcelo Gallardo in the lineup but was ineffective.

After the break, Moreno moved back into the midfield and Francis Doe came on for Dyachenko. Things looked more promising, and Moreno set up Devon McTavish, who hit the post with a shot.

Rookie midfielder Craig Thompson, who was acquired last month from Houston, made his first start.

United’s next game is against Atlante FC on Tuesday at RFK.

Mexican national team coach Sven Goran Eriksson was in attendance. Eight players on the Chivas roster have played for Mexico.

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