- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 10, 2005

In its first big game of the year, D.C. United beat Jamaican club Harbour View 2-1 in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions Cup before 3,835 who braved the cold last night at Germantown SoccerPlex.

The freezing and windy conditions seemed to favor United early against the big and physical Jamaican team. The 2004 MLS champions opened the scoring in the fifth minute, when captain Jaime Moreno back-heeled a ball to Freddy Adu, who sent a perfect low cross to Alecko Eskandarian. He struck home a powerful shot from 12 yards.

The Jamaicans fought back with the bitter wind behind them to make it 1-1 in the 23rd minute after a comedy of errors by United’s defense. Goalie Nick Rimando collided with defender David Stokes as they attempted to deal with a high cross on the 18-yard line. Both missed the ball, which dropped into the goal area for Harbour View’s Luton Shelton, who sent it into the open goal.

With the game mostly being played in Harbour View’s territory, United finally took the lead in the 64th minute, when Josh Gros headed in Christian Gomez’s cross.

It was a not a good night for Stokes, who gave the ball away in the 76th minute and nearly allowed Shelton to score his second goal.

The 15-year-old Adu played 80 minutes before being taken out for defender Brandon Prideaux. Clyde Simms, who recently was signed by United, replaced Gomez with six minutes to go.

In the second half, United came close in the 54th minute, forcing Leighton Murray to make a good save on Gomez’s 25-yard free kick. Murray was called into action minutes later to deal with a curling corner kick by Adu.

The return game of the two-game series will be played Wednesday in Jamaica.

This is United’s sixth appearance in the tournament, which involves the top club teams from North America, Central America and the Caribbean. United won the Cup in 1998, defeating Mexican club Toluca 1-0 at RFK Stadium. The Champions Cup winner gets to play in the FIFA World Club Championship in Japan in December.

Note — D.C. United signed defenders Bobby Boswell and Tim Merritt. Boswell was acquired via a discovery pick, and Merritt was originally selected in the fourth round (48th overall) of the 2004 MLS SuperDraft.

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