D.C. United used a touch of good luck and a complete performance by a squad of role players to complete its perfect run in 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League group play with a 1-0 victory at Tauro FC in Panama City, Panama.
The victory improved United’s group stage record to 4-0-0 (12 points), ensuring a top-four seed among the eight quarterfinalists in next spring’s knockout stage of the regional tournament. The high seed means D.C. United will host the crucial second leg of the quarterfinals.
Shanosky has spent much of the year with the Richmond Kickers, United’s USL PRO affiliate, and has yet to make a regular season appearance in 2014. But he was in the right place at the right time to meet the clearance of Lewis Neal’s free kick with his own head in the box and send it past the surprised Tauro goalkeeper. It was all the offense the visitors needed.
With form and rhythm heading into the MLS Cup Playoffs the priority, United opted to send 14 players to Panama. In the starting XI, Willis manned the net behind Shanosky, Alex Caskey, Kofi Opare, and Samuel Inkoom. Midfielders were Jared Jeffrey, Neal, Kyle Porter, and Collin Martin; up front David Estrada and Michael Seaton earned the nod. Chris Korb and Jalen Robinson both saw minutes off the bench while MLS pool goalkeeper Daniel Withrow was insurance for Willis.
After United went into halftime with the lead, Tauro kept the pressure on, and Alejandro Vélez hit the crossbar with a free kick in the 85th minute. The home side got no closer.
Jamaican side Waterhouse FC finished the group in second place (2-0-2, 6 points) while Tauro FC went winless (0-4-0, zero points).
D.C. United returns to MLS action this Saturday in its last regular season match before MLS Cup Playoffs. United takes on the Montreal Impact at 4 pm ET on October 21. Tune in on dcunited.com. Buy tickets for the Black-and-Red's home playoff match on Nov. 8 by clicking here.