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D.C. United Smashed Out Of Champions' Cup Semis

Pumas 5, United 0

From News Services and Staff Reports
Thursday, April 14, 2005; Page D06

D.C. United continued to have problems at the start of each half, yielding goals in the 11th minute and then three minutes after halftime during a 5-0 loss to Pumas last night in the deciding game of the Champions' Cup semifinals in Mexico City.

Bruno Marioni gave Pumas the lead with a short header off Diego Alonso's cross -- the only goal Pumas ended up needing to win the two-game, total-goals series following a 1-1 tie at RFK Stadium last week.

Fernando Espinosa tugs at Jaime Moreno on Wednesday night. United yields goals early in each half during a 5-0 loss to Pumas in the deciding game of the Champions' Cup semifinals. (Claudio Cruz - AP)

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Pumas will face Mexican rival Monterrey or Costa Rican club Saprissa in next month's finals, with the winner advancing to the world championships in Japan late this year.

United nearly tied it four minutes after Marioni's goal, but Alecko Eskandarian's shot hit the right post.

Pumas dominated the second half, stretching its lead shortly after intermission and then turning it into a rout following United defender Mike Petke's ejection.

Botero scored his first goal on a breakaway in the 48th minute. Petke then left his team short-handed after receiving his second yellow card in the 69th minute. Four minutes later, Botero struck again on another breakaway.

Substitute David Toledo and Jaime Lozano finished the scoring with goals in the final five minutes.

Petke's ejection left United without its three most experienced defenders. Bryan Namoff has been sidelined for several weeks with a back strain and Brandon Prideaux, who had just recovered from the flu, was a late scratch because of a pulled hamstring.

Rookie midfielder Nick Van Sicklen started in place of Englishman Steve Guppy on the left flank. Teenager Freddy Adu replaced Van Sicklen in the 58th minute, but United couldn't generate much of an attack.

Clyde Simms and Jamil Walker also made second-half appearances for United (1-0-1 in MLS), which will resume regular season play tomorrow night at Columbus (1-1).

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