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United Gets Tie, Two New Players

D.C. United 2, Revolution 2

By Steven Goff
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, August 15, 2004; Page E03

D.C. United gained a couple of new players last night, including an Argentine midfielder, but lost an opportunity to forge its first winning streak of the season.

On a wet, dreary evening at RFK Stadium, United squandered a late lead and had to settle for a 2-2 tie with the New England Revolution before 13,298 spectators.


D.C. United's Alecko Eskandarian, right, fails to steal the ball from Revolution goalie Matt Reis during the first half on Saturday. (Kevin Wolf - AP)

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Jaime Moreno scored two goals, including the go-ahead strike early in the second half, but New England reserve Andy Dorman pounced on a 12-yard shot in the 85th minute -- just 55 seconds after entering the game -- as United (6-8-7) failed in its attempt to win two games in a row for the first time during this wildly inconsistent season.

"It's very disappointing," said Moreno, whose goals in the 39th and 56th minutes trumped Steve Ralston's pretty finish in the 38th for the Revolution (5-8-8). "We created a lot of chances to win the game, but we didn't put them away and, at the end, we got punished for it."

During the game, United announced it had finalized the acquisition of Argentina's Christian Gomez, a deal first reported in The Washington Post yesterday. Gomez, who will turn 30 in November, departed Buenos Aires late Friday, arrived in Washington yesterday and underwent a physical exam at RFK prior to United's match. He watched the game from the owner's box on the mezzanine level.

"There are a lot of high expectations and I hope I can help the club," he said through an interpreter. "Overall, there is a good squad here."

Gomez will not be available until he receives a work visa and international clearance, a process that could delay his debut until the Aug. 28 match at New England.

"We looked in a lot of places, but Christian was our choice because we believe he's going to make a difference," Coach Peter Nowak said. "We need somebody who is going to create the chances, who is going to be the engine in the midfield. With Freddy [Adu], we're happy right now. Christian is going to be another option. . . . Especially in a game like today, he will be very useful because he's going to keep the ball with five, six minutes remaining and keep the ball moving. He's going to be a perfect addition for us."

Adu, who played well starting in attacking midfield the last two games, said he didn't know how Gomez's acquisition would affect his playing time. "When I get my chance, I play hard," he said. "I think I've played well and I'm going to keep giving everything I've got."

The club has also reached a contract agreement with American midfielder Tim Lawson, who's been playing in Germany's lower levels. His signing won't be announced for a few days, but he'll probably be available for Saturday's match at Columbus -- the first of three straight road games for United, which is an MLS-worst 1-6-3 away from RFK.

Pat Noonan created the Revolution's first goal, beating Josh Gros on the right and crossing to Ralston, who side-stepped a sliding Earnie Stewart and danced past Ben Olsen for a 12-yard shot into the left side of the net.

But United quickly struck back. Dema Kovalenko's cross from deep on the left was poked by goalkeeper Matt Reis and a Revolution defender to Moreno, who stepped around a New England player and easily placed the ball into the goal from five yards.

Three minutes into the second half, United's Troy Perkins made a superb reflex save on Jay Heaps's shot to preserve the tie. United's attack couldn't find a rhythm until the 56th minute, when Kovalenko delivered a diagonal ball to Moreno making a clear run on the left. Moreno went around Reis and cut the ball back before slotting a six-yard shot between a pair of defenders.

United was fortunate to keep the lead, though, as Perkins was forced to make a leaping save and Kovalenko cleared a shot off the goal line in the 75th minute.

Moreno nearly completed a hat trick eight minutes later, but Reis kicked away his close-ranged shot. Then in the 85th minute, Dorman came on and almost immediately pumped a shot past Perkins to level the score. Both teams missed excellent opportunities in the waning moments.

"We got lucky not to lose this game" at the end, Nowak said. "Jaime was on fire, but we needed [others] to finish their chances. We should've finished the game."

United Notes: Olsen got a yellow card in the second half, which, team officials believe, will result in a suspension from the next match. . . .

United will not play at home again until Sept. 11 against Dallas.


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