- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 14, 2002

Eddie Pope salvaged D.C. United's pride.
Pope scored the game-winning goal on a trademark header off Marco Etcheverry's corner kick in the 89th minute to give United a 2-1 win over Guatemalan club CSD Comunicaciones in the CONCACAF Champions Cup before 13,378 last night at RFK Stadium.
However, Comunicaciones won the two-game series 5-2 on goal aggregate and will play Costa Rican club Alajuense in the quarterfinal round.
"If we would have had a fair game down there, this would have been a totally different day," Pope said. "We wanted to win, that was the bottom line. We didn't get a fair shake in Guatemala actually it was ridiculous."
The winner of the Champions Cup earns the right to represent the region at FIFA's 2003 World Club championship.
United's game plan last night was to push everybody forward and get the match's first goal, but it didn't work out that way.
In the 14th minute, Comunicaciones scored the game's first goal on a free kick by right-flank midfielder Rigoberto Gomez.
From 22 yards out on the right wing, Gomez sent a curling free kick that sailed over United goalkeeper Nick Rimando.
"You learn from your mistakes," Rimando said. "I anticipated the ball to the near post. I definitely should have got it."
Gomez's free kick was set up by a foul called on United right back Brandon Prideaux for pulling down Comunicaciones forward Milton "Tyson" Nunez from behind. Nunez, a speedy Honduran national team striker, scored a hat trick against United last week in the first leg of the competition.
In the 15th minute, one minute after Comunicaciones scored, United almost scored its first goal when Etcheverry was denied inside the 6-yard box.
United finally scored the equalizer in the 62nd minute on a goal by midfielder Mark Lisi. Etcheverry and forward Santino Quaranta assisted on Lisi's goal.
United forward Abdul Thompson Conteh found Etcheverry at the top of the 18-yard box. Etcheverry penetrated into the box and with the outside of his right foot sent Quaranta free on the right flank, and he sent in a low cross. Lisi, who was at the far post, just tapped in Quaranta's cross to tie the game.
The return on Milton Reyes' United debut was good. Reyes, who started as United's right-flank midfielder, made some good runs down the right side, got a few crosses in and exhibited sound tackling.
Forward Ali Curtis, for whom United traded Tuesday, also made his debut with the team. Curtis came on in the 62nd minute for Conteh and had a shot saved in the 78th minute.
Note United has invited former Colombian national team midfielder Wilmer Cabrera to train with the club Monday. Cabrera, 34, says he owns his own transfer fee, but he would count as a senior international if United likes him. United currently has three senior internationals Etcheverry, Nelsen and Jaime Moreno on the roster. Etcheverry is expected to receive his green card soon, which would free up an international spot.


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