- The Washington Times - Friday, March 2, 2007

The D.C. United faithful likely will chant Luciano Emilio’s name plenty this season. United’s new Brazilian acquisition scored two exquisite goals last night against his old team, CD Olimpia of Honduras, as United beat the visitors 3-2 before 8,181 at RFK Stadium.

With the victory, United won the total-goals series 7-3 and advanced to the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions’ Cup. United will now face CD Guadalajara, Mexico’s most successful club. The first game of that series is March 15 at RFK.

It was Emilio’s third goal for United in two games, following his clever back-heel goal in United’s 4-1 win over Olimpia in the first game of the quarterfinals in Honduras last week. Emilio spent three years with Olimpia before signing with United this season. Christian Gomez, the MLS MVP in 2006, got last night’s equalizer from a penalty kick.

United had a chance to take the lead in the 20th minute after Gomez played a give-and-go pass with Jaime Moreno, but Moreno shot wide.

The Honduran team saw a glimmer of hope when it won a penalty kick at the 29-minute mark after Bryan Namoff brought down Wilfredo Barahona with a sliding tackle in the box. Hendry Thomas converted the spot kick, narrowing the series’ goal margin to 4-2, while sending the large contingent of Hondurans in the crowd into cheers. But the hope was fleeting for the 20-time Honduran champion.

United tied the game in the 37th minute with a goal from Emilio, who was making his first appearance for United at RFK. Eight yards out from the goal, Moreno played a pass back to Emilio. Running into the box, Emilio made one touch on the ball and glided past three oncoming defenders before firing a low shot and giving United a 5-2 lead in the series on goals.

“I’m happy I was able to score against them,” Emilio said. “Obviously I won a lot of titles with Olimpia so I really don’t feel that killer-instinct against them. They gave me a lot, but overall I’m happy that we won. It was a tough match and I’m glad we are in the next round”

After the break, Jamil Walker replaced Moreno and Ben Olsen came in for Brian Carroll. Olsen immediately had an impact, winning a penalty kick, which Gomez converted to make the series 6-2. It marked his third goal in two games in the Cup.

Olimpia scored on a goal from substitute Jose Pacini in the 75th minute to take the aggregate score to 6-3.

But United wasn’t done. Six minutes before the end of regulation, Emilio collected a pass from Gomez, breezed past a defender and tucked the ball away from the Honduran goalie inside the far post.

United suffered a blow in the 67th minute when goalie Troy Perkins left the field with a right quad strain and was replaced by Jay Nolly, making his team debut after being traded from Real Salt Lake.

United won the Champions’ Cup, which pits the top teams from the North American, Caribbean and Central America, in 1998.

“I give [Olimpia] a lot of credit,” United coach Tom Soehn said. “They came from behind the eight-ball, but they came out and fought and scrapped.”

The winner of the Champions’ Cup will represent the CONCACAF region at the prestigious FIFA World Club Cup in Japan in December.

Notes — United waived midfielder Domenic Mediate yesterday. The former Maryland star played in eight games last year, but his season was cut short when he suffered a broken leg on Aug. 26. He will be available to other MLS teams in Monday’s waiver draft. …

United has retained former standout midfielder Marco Etcheverry to serve as a special consultant to help scout players and liaison with Latin American countries.

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