- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 16, 2008

D.C. United has had a tough time with Mexican teams, but playing them at RFK Stadium always has provided an extra boost.

Not anymore.

United suffered its second consecutive home loss to a Mexican team Tuesday night, falling 3-2 to Atlante FC in the SuperLiga tournament.

United, with no points after two games, barely remains alive in the competition.

“Today there is no sugar-coating anything,” United coach Tom Soehn said. “The performance, especially in the first half, was atrocious. There was no commitment, no passion, and we came out flat all over.”

Francis Doe and Luciano Emilio scored goals to give United some hope, but the team’s defense repeatedly broke down. Colombian striker Luis Gabriel Rey scored two goals for Atlante, while Christian Bermudez scored the other.

Rey gave the Iron Colts the lead in the 15th minute on a pass from Gabriel Pereyra, breezing past Marc Burch and Devon McTavish to put the ball past goalie Zach Wells. It marked the second time in as many games a team easily has run down the middle of United’s defense to score.

Atlante coach Jose Guadalupe Cruz said United underestimated his team.

“Whenever there is a wounded team like we were, I think you have to be careful,” Cruz said.

United got back in the game 13 minutes later when rookie midfielder Craig Thompson crossed a ball from the left flank to Doe, who put it past Federico Vilar from just inside the 6-yard box.

Rey scored again in the 44th minute on a low cross from Giancarlo Maldonado.

“It was a slow start from us, and they punished in the first half,” Wells said. “We looked a little better in second half like the last game, but it was too little, too late.”

Atlante scored first in the second half, when Bermudez looped a shot from 19 yards out over Wells in the 49th minute. Emilio added the final goal with 11 minutes left, firing home a powerful shot from inside the 18-yard box. Rod Dyachenko nearly tied the game in the final seconds with a drive that forced Vilar to make a remarkable save.

The eight-team SuperLiga matches the best MLS teams against top Mexican clubs. United plays the last of its pool matches at home Saturday against the Houston Dynamo, which played CD Guadalajara on Tuesday night.