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Champions League game #2: DCU 0 - Marathon 2

The team sat in well through the first half and absorbed a few breakthrough chances by Marathon.  It also looked as though the team missed out on a penalty call midway through the first half when Luciano Emilio was taken down by the Marathon's goalkeeper.  Then, in the second half the guys seemed to gain a little control of the game and saw two decent opportunities for Boyzzz Khumalo.  Unfortunately, Marathon broke through in the 67th minute (did anyone else think Clyde was preparing to kick the ball out of bounds because Rod was injured on the ground, only to have a Marathon player slide in and take it? It looked that way to me, but I haven't seen a replay) and scored their first goal, before adding an insurance tally in the 84th (dcunited.com recap here). 

United falls to 0-2 in Group A play and will face Mexico's Cruz Azul at RFK Stadium next Wednesday (8 p.m. ET). 

The team departs tomorrow morning at 11:30 p.m., has a layover in Houston and lands back in the District around 10 p.m.  Another long day of travel, which will leave just two days to prepare for the visit to FC Dallas on Sunday.  

Here are some post-game quotes... 

D.C. United Head Coach Tom Soehn
On the team’s performance:
We had a plan to make sure our mentality was to not give up too many chances and I thought the first half we hung on pretty strong.  We had to make some substitutions and, to their [Marathon’s] credit, they’re a good counterattack team and they have some guys with pace who can hurt you and they created a few quality chances.
 
On whether or not Marathon’s speed surprised them:
Not at all, we’ve watched them and we knew they were good on the counterattack.  We turned over the ball in bad spots and that’s what generated their chances. But, to their credit they finished their chances – which is part of the game.
 
On whether the team is in a difficult spot at 0-2:
Absolutely. We’ve dug ourselves a hole, especially with the loss at home.  Obviously, Marathon still has to come play us, which will also be a tough environment for them.  But, we’ve dug ourselves a hole.  They’re obviously sitting in a much better position.
 
On if the weather affected the team:
I think more so the travel did.  You know, we had a long flight from LA to get here.  Obviously, the conditions are hot and humid, but for some of our guys that’s a comforting thing.  So, I think the travel has been difficult more than the weather.
 
On Central American soccer:
We’ve been up here before and the teams that we’ve faced are very good sides.  They play different styles, but Marathon is a good team.  Unfortunately, we’re in a situation where we’re still missing some key guys and we’re on the verge of getting healthy, but we’re fighting through some battles – much like all teams do.  It takes nothing away from them – they had a good performance today.
 
On missing Marcelo Gallardo and Jaime Moreno:
Well, missing two guys like that obviously it takes a lot away from our possession game, which we’ve been accustomed to playing.  When you have two guys like that on the field it makes players like Ivan [Guerrero] and Fred and Luciano [Emilio] so much more effective. So, it’s a big loss for us, but that’s the reality of sports and we have to deal with what we have.
 
D.C. United forward Luciano Emilio
On the game:
It was very difficult for us.  We came to play well tonight and it was very difficult for us.  We worked very hard for the first 45 minutes, played good defensively, but after that it was very difficult.
 
On being brought down in the box by the Marathon goalkeeper:
He made a mistake – he came outside the goal. He made a mistake and left the ball on the ground and then I dribbled him and he pulled my jersey and I think it was 100% a penalty, but the referee didn’t call it.
 
On being 0-2 and facing Cruz Azul next week:
It is very difficult – two games we have lost. But, next Wednesday we need to start to win. It’s a home game and I think this is the time the team has to start to win, because if we don’t win Wednesday then the situation will be very bad for us.
 
D.C. United defender Craig Thompson
On the team’s defensive posture:
We were playing away so we wanted to come in with a little more of a defensive mindset and we did that and in the first half it worked pretty well – we came out 0-0.
 
On playing at right back:
Playing with the defenders we have in the back makes it a lot easier, because they help you out.  If you play with good players they really make your job easy.  Playing back there wasn’t that hard of a transition from right midfield because I’m familiar with everybody.
 
On Marathon:
They were very tough. They’re a very quick team and they made a lot of good runs, they were hard to mark. 
 
On being 0-2 in Group A:
It’s difficult, but we still have four games left and we’re still in it.  By no means are we out, so we need to come back and get a couple wins and we’ll be right there.