By RYAN TOLMICH
Needing only a draw for advancement, D.C. United did everything they needed and more to secure their place in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.
Chris Pontius and Eddie Johnson each contributed a goal as D.C. United took down Panama’s Tauro FC, 2-0, at RFK Stadium to clinch a spot in the CCL quarterfinal stages despite still having a game to play in the tournament’s group stage.
After dominating throughout the first 45 minutes, D.C. United finally opened the scoring with a 49th minute header from Pontius.
The 27-year-old midfielder, who nearly scored a header in the 11th minute, made sure to direct his shot correctly this time, as Pontius guided home a long-distance cross from defender Samuel Inkoom to give D.C. United the lead.
The hosts doubled their lead just four minutes later through Johnson, who was making his first appearance in three weeks.
Johnson, who came on as a second half substitute, made a darting run through the box before finding himself on the end of a David Estrada backheel. The D.C. United forward struck the pass first time, as Johnson’s shot caromed off the crossbar and over the line to secure the D.C. United victory.
With the win, D.C. United pick up their third CCL victory in as many games after previously sweeping Jamaica’s Waterhouse FC. Ben Olsen’s side still have one group stage match left to play, as D.C. United travel to Panama Oct. 21 for a rematch with Tauro FC.
The D.C. United victory will now allow the club to focus exclusively on MLS play for the remainder of the regular season, which they resume Saturday against the Philadelphia Union.
Check out the match highlights below: