Champions' Cup: DCU 2 - Pachuca 1 (2-3 aggregate)
Too little, too late.
Tonight's game could have had a very different outcome. Tommy Soehn's hybrid 3-4-3 formation worked wonders, the guys created numerous chances in the first half and if not for one defensive gaffe midway through the second, two late goals might have been enough... alas, soccer can both make you fall in love and break your heart. Tonight's game, unfortunately, brought the latter for those who care about United.
Despite winning the game tonight 2-1, the aggregate score from the two game series was 3-2 in favor of Pachuca. The Mexican squad advances to the Champions' Cup final. The D.C. boys made a game of it with two goals in the last five minutes, but it was not enough.
The team heads to Salt Lake tomorrow and faces Real Salt Lake on Saturday evening (9 p.m. ET).
New photos posted to Video & Pics.
UPDATED: Here are some quotes from after the game.
D.C. United Head Coach Tom Soehn:
On the game: First of all, I want to congratulate Pachuca. They’re a good side and I think they’ll have great success. On our side, we’re disappointed. We had a plan and I thought we executed it very well. Unfortunately, we didn’t put away our chances early and that puts us behind the eight ball. But, our guys fought and made it very difficult for them. We knew how to close them down and they did a great job of that. The one thing we couldn’t account for is some of the calls we got, which are game-changers and in these big games for an official to blow a penalty call like that, that’s a game-changer. And that’s disappointing.
On whether or not Fred being taken down was a penalty: Absolutely. I watched it in the locker room – it’s a PK anywhere in the world and it’s disappointing, because our guys earned and deserved better.
On the team: We have a talented group, I think defensively they didn’t have a lot of answers for the way we adjusted, which I give our guys credit for learning something new in the course of two days. Because they’re not an easy team to break down. But, again, it’s disappointing – we deserved better tonight.
On Luciano Emilio’s not finishing: It happens. We had other chances as well. Sometimes you get in streaks where you’re scoring, sometimes you don’t. You have to credit the opponent for closing down some of those and putting pressure on him, but again we had some real clear chances that we failed to put away and they came back to bite us.
On turning to MLS play after the loss: You have to fight through these – it’s disappointing, but tomorrow’s another day. Saturday is another game, so on the side of that we’re obviously disappointed, but we have to move on and we have to move on in a hurry.
On the team’s depth: We’ve always talked about this as a team effort. You’ve got 28 guys on your roster and everybody at some point impacts the game. I said this before the game – each of the 18 [players] can impact the game in a big way and we need 18 guys to show up today. They energized us and gave us some good goals. We’ve got a deep team and we’re going to continue to use it. They all work hard and they all deserve time.
D.C. United forward Luciano Emilio:
On being eliminated from the Cup: A bit upset because we thought we could advance. Today we showed that with this team we can beat Pachuca. Sad but life goes on. We have a commitment on Staurday with the MLS and we have to keep our spirits up. On creating chances: I think we created enough chances but we couldn’t get the goals. On scoring goals: I’m a little sad because we fought so hard for the goal but unfortunately we couldn’t reach the goal. Those are just things that happen and tomorrow you get back up and score goals. That’s part of playing soccer.
D.C. United goalkeeper Zach Wells:
On the first half: We could have made a couple more plays in the first half, put ourselves in a better situation. With that said, I think the effort was pretty outstanding. On winning: I think we beat a pretty good team, although it was not what we needed to advance. We showed they can be beat. On facing Salt Lake on Saturday: Same thing we did last week. We came back from Mexico with a pretty bitter taste in our mouth and beat Toronto so hopefully that happens. All that matters is that we get another win.
D.C. United forward Rod Dyachenko:
On Mexican play: In general, most of Mexican teams are a lot better on the ball. Technical play is a lot harder too. On preparing for Saturday’s game: [We] Got to rejuvenate. Maybe change the lineup a little bit. Give some guys some rest.
D.C. United forward Jaime Moreno:
On their play in the last minutes: In the last minutes we tried to play this way and it worked pretty well. I think we have a good team. We have to try to concentrate on MLS and get good results. On gaining confidence: We’re still winning. We won the game. Unfortunately, we didn’t get enough goals to get to the final but we just continue and we have to keep working hard because it’s a long season, we have a lot of games coming up and we have to keep playing the same way we’ve been.
D.C. United Defender Gonzalo Peralta:
On D.C.’s performace: We had a great game but that’s how things went, they got a rebound and they converted. After that it was hard. We scored two goals but it wasn’t enough to get the third so we leave sad but knowing we gave everything and what’s important is our attitude.
Pachuca midfielder Damian Alvarez:
On United’s goals: We played a great game but the last ten minutes got complicated for us because we lost control of the ball and it was evident that D.C. United being three goals behind were on the attack and were going to try to even things up. Luckily for us time ran out for them.