WASHINGTON D.C. -- In front of a paltry 3,411 fans on Wednesday, D.C. United took care of their half of business at home. Needing a win against San Juan, and a Toluca victory over Marathon on Thursday night to qualify for the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League, United did more than enough to ensure victory against San Juan.
Goals from Christian Gomez, Fred, and Boyzzz Khumalo did the trick for United in the first half, as they thoroughly dominated the first 45 minutes. San Juan had several opportunities to pull a goal back during the opening stages of the second half, but when they failed to do so, Gomez made them pay with his second goal of the night. San Juan finally was able to score a goal late on, but Jerrel Britto's goal was a mere consolation for San Juan. Khumalo then wrapped up the scoring in the stoppage time of the second half.
With the win, United move to 9 points from five matches, while San Juan remain at zero points from their five group stage matches.
Against a team that had failed to make an impact in the Champions League group stage, D.C. United made short work of San Juan Jabloteh, ensuring the result by halftime.
Christian Gomez scored his second Champions League goal this season to give United the one goal advantage in the 13th minute. Fred played Rodney Wallace down the left hand flank, allowing Wallace to get a low cross into the box. The cross took a slight deflection into the path of Gomez, who made no mistake from six yards out.
With San Juan offering little going forward the other way, D.C. created the majority of the chances and had several opportunities to add to their lead. Chris Pontius had a couple of half chances, as did Fred and Gomez.
United did not waste many clear chances in front of goal, however, and doubled the lead in the 30th minute from a goal by Brazilian Fred. Pontius made a quick break deep into the San Juan half, drawing two defenders on his run. When the space opened up, Pontius slipped a pass in the box for Fred, who settled the ball before sliding a shot under SJ 'keeper Cleon John for the 2-0 lead.
D.C. rounded out their first hafl scoring in the 43rd minute, as Boyzzz Khumalo scored his first goal in CL competition this season. Clyde Simms played Gomez into the box, who allowed a defender to run by him while faking a shot. Once the defender was past him, Gomez slipped a pass to an unmarked Khumalo at the far post, who easily tapped it home for the convincing 3-0 lead.
Other than picking the ball out of their own net, San Juan Jabloteh made little impact in the first half. The team seemed out of their depth, and they managed to take less shots than goals they conceded ( 2 to 3). After 45 minutes, they went into the halftime with a mountain to climb, down by three goals.
San Juan came out flying in the second half, playing with more purpose and commitment.
A fantastic pass behind the United defense found striker Jerrel Britto clear through on goal, but United 'keeper Milos Kocic did well to keep the shot out with his feet. Moments later, Willis Plaza tested Kocic from long range, but Kocic was again up to the task, making the save at full stretch.
Plaza had another opportunity in the 55th minute, as he gathered a ball amongst a crowd of defenders in the box. He got a shot off quickly, but it took a deflection off of a defender and bounced just wide of the post. San Juan failed to capitalize on the resulting corner, which took some steam out of their early momentum in the second half.
D.C. eventually made San Juan pay for not finding a goal to get back into the match, as Gomez scored his second goal on the night in the 68th minute. Gomez played a pass down the left for Wallace, before receiving the ball back in the box. With space available, Gomez fired off a shot that John could only help into the goal, and United were cruising at 4-0.
San Juan were able to secure a consolation goal in the 83rd minute, as Jerrel Britto slotted home an easy shot past Kocic. A fantastic pass beyond the United back four found substitute Hector Sam, who made space for himself against Wallace before slipping a pass to Britto at the back post, who made no mistake from six yards out.
Khumalo rounded out the scoring in stoppage time, finishing off a well worked move from Fred. The Brazilian made a half turn at the top of the box before laying the ball back to Khumalo. Khumalo curled a one-timed left footed shot at the near post, and it sneaked just inside the post while beating John. After three minutes of stoppage time, the match ended 5-1 in favor of United.
Steven Streff, Goal.com
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