D.C. United needed only a tie last night in Kingston, Jamaica, to advance to the semifinals of the Champions' Cup, an international tournament that will send the winner to the world championships.
Instead, with help from two new players, United rallied from a halftime deficit to earn a 2-1 victory over Caribbean champion Harbour View.
United had won the opener of the two-game series by the same score at Maryland SoccerPlex last week, and finished with a 4-2 aggregate victory.
It will host Mexican power Pumas on April 6, then play in Mexico City a week later. Pumas advanced last night by beating visiting Olimpia of Honduras, 2-1, in overtime after a 1-1 tie last week.
The eight-team tournament, which was founded in 1962, will determine the regional representative at the world championships in Japan late this year.
"We might not have played the best, but we managed to win," United Coach Peter Nowak said through a team spokesman. "We have a lot of work to do, but we'll be ready for the next round."
Donald Stewart's goal in the closing seconds of the first half gave Harbour View a 1-0 lead in the game and a 2-2 tie in the total-goals series. But a pair of newly acquired players combined for United midway through the second half as English midfielder Steve Guppy's sharp cross set up forward Jamil Walker's header.
Four minutes later, Christian Gomez made a long run and assisted on Jaime Moreno's curling shot to the far side of the net, giving United the lead and essentially clinching the series.
Nowak made two changes to his starting lineup, benching Freddy Adu in favor of rookie Nick Van Sicklen and dropping David Stokes for Brandon Prideaux. Walker, a recent free agent signing, entered at the start of the second half for Alecko Eskandarian, and Guppy, who joined the team on Monday, replaced Van Sicklen.
In the tournament's other bracket, Mexican club Monterrey moved into the semifinals following a scoreless tie with Municipal of Guatemala, giving it a 2-1 victory on aggregate.
Monterrey will play the winner of the Kansas City Wizards-Saprissa (Costa Rica) series, which will conclude tonight in San Jose, Costa Rica. Those teams played to a 0-0 tie last week at Arrowhead Stadium.
-- Steven Goff