- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 1, 2007

D.C. United makes its first appearance of the year at RFK Stadium tonight when it goes up against CD Olimpia of Honduras in the return game of the quarterfinal series of the CONCACAF Champions’ Cup.

United did all the hard work last week on a bumpy field in the 80 degree heat of Honduras, pounding Olimpia 4-1 on two clinical strikes from Christian Gomez, with added goals from Brazilian newcomer Luciano Emilio and Facundo Erpen.

The pressure tonight is all on Olimpia, which has to start the game with an offensive posture because the team with the most aggregate goals in the two games advances.

“They are going to come out flying and try and score goals, so we had better be ready to defend well,” United midfielder Ben Olsen said. “We just can’t sit back because this is a dangerous team.”

Said defender Bobby Boswell: “We have to play our game and make them react to us. The field down there wasn’t suited to our passing game, but here we can play our style. We need to weather the early storm and get goals early and break their spirits.”

United practiced penalty kicks in training yesterday in case the Hondurans tie the series and force a shootout.

“We are going to go out with the same mentality we had when we played down there,” United coach Tom Soehn said. “We are going to play smart and not take chances we don’t have to. We need to be patient, and eventually our chances will come.”

Soehn is likely to stick with the roster that did the damage in Honduras.

“This is a difficult game for a coach,” Olsen said. “I would guess he will go with pretty much the same lineup.”

If United advances, it will play the winner of the series between W Connection of Trinidad and Tobago and Guadalajara (Chivas) of Mexico, who played last night in Mexico. W Connection won the opening game at home 2-1. Chivas is Mexico’s most successful and popular club.

If United advances to the semifinal series, it will play host to the opening game March 15 at 8 p.m.

Club officials are expecting a crowd of 10,000 for tonight’s game. United leaves for Florida on Saturday for a week of training in Fort Lauderdale.

Note — United president Kevin Payne said the club is close to bringing in an important attacking player.

“We’ve been told he’s accepted our offer and signed an agreement, but we haven’t seen it yet, and until we see it, we don’t count it,” Payne said. “We think he’s going to help us a lot.”

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