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MLS Game Summary - Columbus at D.C. United



(Thursday, April 17, 2008)

From The Sports Network

Final Score: Columbus 2, D.C. United 1

Washington, D.C. (Sports Network) - D.C. United was playing its sixth game in all competitions in the past three weeks when it lined up against the Columbus Crew in a Major League Soccer fixture on Thursday night at RFK Stadium. That busy early season schedule showed in a 2-1 loss that dropped United to 1-3-0 on the season, the team?s second straight league disappointment and third loss in a row overall.

"I didn't think we were as sharp as we needed to be," United coach Tom Soehn said.

"We have been through a tough stretch. I feel it is deja vu from last year. We've got a long week coming up and we are going to work hard to make sure we are were we need to be because we are not there yet," Soehn added about the team?s much-needed nine days off before its next fixture.

The Crew, on the other hand, continued their strong start to the 2008 season, with their third win in four games.

"You have to find different ways to win games and today it was a different way then we won last week or that we won the first game of the season," Crew coach Sigi Schmid said. "We have to establish our identity."

Veteran forwards Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Alejandro Moreno fueled the Crew attack, with the defense holding on in the second half for the important away victory.

"We talked all week about breaking them down and making sure that Schelotto and Moreno, on the counter attacks, didn't hurt us," Soehn said. "We weren't, we gave them way too much space and they punished us for it."

Schelotto helped set up Moreno on the game?s first goal, and after deflecting a shot by Bryan Namoff into his own net, Crew midfielder Adam Moffat forced United center back Gonzalo Peralta into scoring an own goal just before half to close out the scoring.

The game started with the teams trading chances. United had the first crack after earning a free kick from about 30 yards out in the fourth minute. United midfielder Marcelo Gallardo served it into the six-yard box to Luciano Emilio, who had his shot blocked by the defense.

"It?s unfortunate, he got himself in good spots again, but he needed to finish," Soehn said of Emilio, who has just one goal in four games after leading the league with 20 goals last season.

On the ensuing counter attack, Crew winger Robbie Rogers, who leads the league in shots, fired a shot just outside the far post on the rush.

About 10 minutes later, United?s Fred and Emilio almost hooked up on a goal when an impressive D.C. buildup culminated in a chance. Fred crossed from the left side to the Brazilian striker, who headed on goal, but Crew goalkeeper Will Hesmer dove to make the save.

"We found openings, we just didn't finish our chances," Soehn said. "That seems to be the saga the last few games. I don't want to keep going back to (the) tired legs (excuse) because it?s getting old for me, but we need to rest and this week (in training) we are going to work really hard and make sure we are clinical in areas we need to be clinical in."

The Crew had the best chance in the first 30 minutes, when Moreno ran down a ball on the end line and played in back into the box to Schelotto who was by himself. United ?keeper Zach Wells came up big, however, denying the Argentine veteran of his second goal of the season.

Moreno finally broke the deadlock in the 32nd minute after some pretty passing from Columbus in the offensive third. Moffat started it with a quick pass to Schelotto at the top of the penalty area. Schelotto then played a ball through the defense to Frankie Hejduk, who was making a run from his right fullback spot. The former U.S. international played a ball across the box to Moreno, who out-muscled a defender to the ball and tapped it in for his third goal of the season.

United equalized about 10 minutes later when a Namoff blast from inside the area deflected off Moffat and past Hesmer.

"He was trying to block that, so you can't fault him for their goal," Schmid said. "We left Namoff wide open so there are other places we can place blame."

It didn't take the Crew or Moffat long to regain the lead - and their confidence - however. Moffat helped set up the go-ahead goal less than a minute later when he streaked down the right side, played a ball into the box from the end line that deflected off Wells and into the box. Peralta headed into his own net with Moreno pressuring to make it 2-1 at halftime.

"It?s not just his confidence, but the confidence of the whole team," Schmid said of Moffat and the team answering right back. "The last few years have been so difficult and I've been trying to tell them we are a good team. We just have to get some wins under our belt and get our confidence and the rest will happen for us."

The Crew bunkered down in the second half, not allowing United many chances, even after they brought a number of attack-minded players off the bench.

"You know they are going to pack it in and protect their lead and it?s going to be hard to break down," Soehn said. "We never needed to get to that point. We needed to finish our chances when we had them, because we had plenty of opportunities to score and open them up. Once they had (the lead), it?s hard to play when they are packing it in."

"Today was a day where D.C. moved the ball around really well, they were good with the ball and we needed to do a good job defending and I thought we did a good job plugging the holes," Schmid said. "We were there to block shots, and that?s what we needed to do today to win the game."

- By Pat Martin, MLS Editor

04/17 23:49:10 ET