Correction to This Article
A July 3 Sports article incorrectly said that Chicago's Gonzalo Segares scored the first goal of his career in a Major League Soccer game against Chivas USA. It was his second goal. The article also incorrectly said that Segares previously played for the Costa Rican club Saprissa; he played at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Breaks of the Game Go D.C. United's Way

United goalie Nick Rimando guesses right and blocks a penalty kick by Columbus's Mario Rodriguez. The Crew is only 1 for 4 on penalty kicks this season. (By Will Shilling -- Columbus Dispatch Via Associated Press)
By Steven Goff
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, July 3, 2005

COLUMBUS, Ohio, July 2 -- D.C. United has grown accustomed to odd events unfolding away from home this year. So when a penalty kick was missed and an own goal accounted for the only scoring Saturday night at Columbus Crew Stadium, it would've been safe to assume that United had been struck by more road misfortune.

Not this time.

Nick Rimando stopped a penalty kick that probably shouldn't have been awarded, and United went ahead midway through the second half on an own goal to defeat the last-place Crew, 1-0, and end a 10-game winless streak at Columbus.

With its first away victory since the season opener at Chivas USA three months ago, United (6-5-4) moved into a tie for third place in the MLS's Eastern Conference and, perhaps most notably, endured a game that could've turned against the club.

"Sometimes soccer works this way," Coach Peter Nowak said after his club managed just one shot on goal (10 overall) and no corner kicks. "The most important part was we kept ourselves in the game and we believed we could win."

The first crucial moment came with about 10 minutes remaining in the first half when Rimando stopped Mario Rodriguez's penalty kick. Then, on one of United's few opportunities, Columbus defender Chad Marshall accidentally knocked Christian Gomez's wayward shot into his own net to help D.C. win here for the first time in six years.

United looked sharp at the start, but the match didn't begin to intensify until midway through the half when Rimando made a diving save on Rodriguez's angled bid to the near corner -- a prelude to the more important showdown between those players a few minutes later.

After United's Nana Kuffour was caught offside while tapping in Dema Kovalenko's cross, Columbus captain Robin Fraser put John Wolyniec through with a long ball. Left back John Wilson caught up to Wolyniec in the box and slid hard to disrupt the shot, but referee Jair Marrufo ruled Wilson took out Wolyniec, not just the ball, and awarded a penalty kick.

Nowak exploded off the bench, spiking his water bottle and gesturing at Marrufo.

"When they were taking the PK, Wolyniec smiled and said to me, 'You got the ball,' " Wilson said. "Maybe I got him afterwards, but that's not a PK. Fortunately, Nicky came up big."

After wasting time in an effort to rattle Rodriguez, Rimando guessed correctly on the Guatemalan midfielder's attempt, lunging to his right to block the rising shot. The Crew is a woeful 1 for 4 on penalty kicks this season.

"He hit it well," Rimando said, "but not good enough."

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