HOUSTON (Thursday, March 15, 2006) -- Striker Brian Ching and midfielder Chris Wondolowski found net in the second half to give the Major League Soccer champion Houston Dynamo a 2-0 victory over CF Pachuca of Mexico tonight in the first leg of a CONCACAF Champions' Cup semifinal series at Robertson Stadium tonight.
Meanwhile, 26,528 braved a chilly, steady rain in Washington, D.C., and saw D.C. United's new Brazilian striker Luciano Emilio score in stoppage time to give his club a 1-1 draw with CD Guadalajara. A large majority of the fans rooted for the Mexican visitor, commonly known as Chivas.
The Dynamo-Pachuca match was scheduled for last night, but was postponed because of a power outage at the University of Houston, where Robertson is located.
Houston survived a shaky first half in which it was dominated to build a two-goal advantage to take to Pachuca for the April 5 return leg.
The Dynamo nearly scored right after intermission when Ching was fouled just above the penalty area, but midfielder Brian Davis sent the ensuing free kick over the crossbar. Then, in the 57th minute, Houston jumped on top.
Defender Craig Waibel crossed from the right flank to Ching, who had coasted the penalty area unmarked to place a header into the lower right corner of the net past goalkeeper Miguel Calero for a 1-0 lead.
Pachuca nearly pulled even four minutes later when Houston keeper Zach Wells left his box to clear a long Pachuca ball over the top of the Dynamo defense. Wells headed the ball weakly to Pachuca striker Andre Chitiva, who lobbed a ball at the vacated net, only to have Waibel clear just before it reached the goal-line.
Waibel also diffused another Pachuca attempt a minute later following a defensive mistake by Eddie Robinson.
Dwayne De Rosario came of the bench in the 76th minute, replacing Paul Dalglish up top, and started the sequence for Houston's second tally. He played a ball down the left flank to Davis, who crossed to the far side of the box where an unmarked Wondolowski easily converted for a 2-0 advantage.
Pachuca keeper Miguel Calero pushed aside a nice shot attempt by Dynamo midfielder Alejandro Moreno just before the final whistle.
D.C. United 1, CD Guadalajara 1
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Striker Luciano Emilio emerged from a crowd to head home an equalizer in the first minute of stoppage time to give D.C. United a 1-1 draw with CD Guadalajara in a CONCACAF Champions Cup semifinal series at RFK Stadium
United, which qualified for the Champions Cup as winner of the MLS Supporters Shield for having the best 2006 regular-season record, still faces a daunting task. It must win the April 3 second leg before around 57,000 hostile fans at Estadio Jalisco in Guadalajara to advance to the championship match.
United got some practice at facing an inimical audience with a large majority of the 26,528 at RFK rooting passionately and vociferously for visiting Chivas.
"Once you're in the game mode, you don't think about the crowd," United coach Tom Soehn said. "I think all you hear are your own fans."
Chivas took a 1-0 lead in the 63rd minute. Sergio Santana carried down the left flank and crossed into the middle of the box. There, his front-line mate Omar Bravo, a starter for Mexico's national team, was wide open for a header. United defender Brian Namoff raced over from his right-back position too late to stop Bravo and the shot nicked him as it eluded keeper Troy Perkins and settled in the net.
Midfielder Ben Olsen, United's 2006 United States World Cup team representative, started in motion D.C.'s tying goal. He took a long pass from defender Facundo Erpen and carried deep into the right corner where he was taken down by Chivas midfielder and captain Ramon Morales.
While Olsen verbally sparred with several members of the opposition and exchanged shoves with a couple, United playmaker Christian Gomez set up the free kick and delivered it to Emilio, who raced into the goalmouth, ducked his head and snapped his header directly into the middle of the net. Sprawling keeper Luis Michel, who was trying to recover to his right, could not reach the shot.
Emilio, a new acquisition, has four goals in three appearances for United in the Champions Cup.
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