For the second straight year, D.C. United failed to advance out of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal stage, as the MLS side only managed a 1-1 draw against Queretaro on Tuesday night. Coupled with the first leg result, United fell 3-1 on aggregate. Needing a multiple goal victory while not conceding to make up for the 2-0 first leg result, the Black-and-Red were essentially eliminated when Angel Sepulveda scored in the 4th minute for Los Gallos. Julian Buescher, who came on as a second half sub, notched his professional goal in the 84th minute with a long range goal that was nothing but a consolation for the Black-and-Red.
Manager Ben Olsen made one change to the side that lost in Mexico week, surprising many by going with Rob Vincent over Luciano Acosta, who came on as a second half sub.
Knowing that they would need score at least twice to have a chance to advance, United saw there hopes dashed in the opening moments of the game, as Sepulveda scored with the first shot for either side. Sinha got the ball out wide on the right for Queretaro, and sent a cross in towards the back post. Edgar Benitez, who scored the crucial second goal in the first leg, knocked the ball down in the box, allowing Sepulveda to slot home a sitter in the 4th minute.
With United requiring four goals to overcome the away goal, Queretaro was able to sit further back, and deny United many looks at goal in the first half. Marcelo Sarvas found a rare opening in the 11th minute though, but he had his shot from outside the box pushed aside by keeper Tiago Volpi.
A broken play that got through United's defense allowed Yerson Candelo to swing the ball over to Benitez in the box. Benitez's effort was saved by Andrew Dykstra, something which repeated in the 36th minute after a sublime service from Sinha. In behind and looking sure to score, Benitez wasted the chance by shooting straight at the approaching Dykstra.
United were finally able to carve out a couple of chances to end the half, but to no avail. Sarvas again tested Volpi from range in the 36th minute, but the Brazilian netminder again was up to the task, pushing the stinging shot aside. Chris Rolfe saw an inviting cross in front of goal just elude Patrick Nyarko, before Vincent closed out the half by firing wide after a run from Nyarko got the attack going.
The Black-and-Red actually started the second half brightly, but a combination of good goalkeeping and poor finishing meant that United was still miles away from mounting a comeback. Nyarko won a header from a Taylor Kemp cross early on, but was only able to redirect the ball right into Volpi's waiting arms.
Fabian Espindola came close twice in the matter of moments shortly thereafter. The Argentine burst into the box to create an opportunity for himself, but was denied by the sprawling Volpi. With the play still alive, Rolfe played Espindola in beyond the defense, but the striker shot wide when a goal seemed certain.
Two minutes later, Nyarko won a penalty for United, which looked to be their best chance of getting themselves back in the game. Nyarko cut across Miguel Martinez in the box after coming in from the right, forcing Queretaro's captain to bundle him to the ground. Rolfe's spot kick was denied by the diving Volpi, who had done everything over two legs to allow Los Gallos to advance.
Kemp volleyed straight at Volpi in the 63rd minute from a set up by Nick DeLeon, before Jonathan Bornstein went close at the other wide, sizzling a shot just wide of Dykstra's goal.
From there, United failed to really challenge Queretaro, as the Mexican side were willing to sit back, and look for opportunities to hit out on the counter. Chances for either side were few and far between, which was nothing more than Queretaro needed to ensure their progression in the tournament.
Buescher provided a rare glimpse late on though, receiving a pass from Espindola in acres of space. With Queretaro sending no one forward to pressure him, the 2016 MLS SuperDraft first round pick took aim, beating Volpi with a stunning long range effort. The Black-and-Red pushed to win the game - if not win the quarterfinal - but couldn't create another real scoring chance.
United begin their MLS season this Sunday, with a trip out to California to take on the LA Galaxy.