WASHINGTON – It’d be difficult to find two teams in CONCACAF more dissimilar than D.C. United and Montego Bay United FC.
United are MLS originals, sitting pretty atop the Eastern Conference two-thirds of the way through their season. Montego Bay are regional minnows, a cash-strapped bunch who leaned on supporters, friends and family just to make it to RFK Stadium at all on Tuesday. They’ve also yet to play a league match this season.
Sounds like a Hollywood script, doesn't it? One where the Jamaicans storm out of RFK with a shock victory and the favorites trudge off the field in misery?
But this isn’t Hollywood; this is CONCACAF. And on Tuesday, the result was predictable.
D.C. rode a trio of goals from Miguel Aguilar, Conor Doyle and Kofi Opare to victory. Outside of a lively first 15 minutes, MoBay never looked particularly likely to steal a positive result, and the loss leaves them on the brink of elimination, while United are now all but assured of qualification for the tournament’s quarterfinal round.
"It’s a win,” said United head coach Ben Olsen after the match. "It’s 3-0, I think if we’re getting greedy it should’ve been more than that. I think if that group would have had more minutes under their belts together, maybe some of the final stuff would’ve clicked and that could’ve happened.”
The goal was Aguilar’s second in under a week. The young winger was also the goalscorer in United’s 1-0 triumph in their CCL opener against Árabe Unido on Thursday, and both goals have seen him combine with midfielder Michael Farfan.
"We asked Miguel tonight to just kind of simplify his game,” said Olsen. "He gets his goal down in Panama, but I don’t think he had a great game. Just losing possession too many times. We asked him, again, to simplify and connect passes and when he does that, he’s a very good, young player. He always has the ability to score; his running off the ball is where he has most of his success.
“Michael, he makes it look easy out there. His instincts are so good and he’s so technical. He helps us connect the game. He’s gonna be a real piece for us for the rest of the year in the league.”
Montego put their best foot forward in the opening quarter-hour. Jamaican national teamer Dino Williams had a pair of chances – including an open look at goal from inside 12 yards – but couldn’t finish. He’d come up short again in the second half.
After the match Montego Bay head coach Tim Hankinson, formerly of the Colorado Rapids and Tampa Bay Mutiny, compared the matchup to being “thrown in a frying pan while trying to learn how to put a 90-minute performance together.”
"I give them credit,” said Olsen. “They came here and gave us everything they have. It was nice to see Tim there on the sidelines – we go way back a long time and I know he’ll get that group [together.] He’s had them for a very, very short time and he’ll get them organized and make them a better team."