United's Addlery Makes Most of His Chance
Friday, June 29, 2007
If not for a teammate's injury 10 minutes into last night's match with the Colorado Rapids, Nicholas Addlery might have spent the entire stormy evening on D.C. United's bench. But when Guy-Roland Kpene departed with a hamstring ailment, further depleting United's thin ranks, Addlery entered.
About an hour later, after a couple of missteps, the Jamaican-born forward made his presence felt with a short header in the 71st minute for his first MLS goal. Then, following a half-hour lightning delay, he set up Fred's maiden goal to help United to a 4-1 victory before 14,982 at RFK Stadium.
After the game, according to sources close to the team, United was trying to finalize a trade that would send Argentine defender Facundo Erpen to Colorado for former U.S. national team defender Greg Vanney.
"Corner kick came in and I headed it -- it was simple," said Addlery, who once played in the obscure Vietnamese league and signed with United three weeks into this season after the minor league Virginia Beach Mariners folded. "It was no razzle-dazzle, Harry Potter magic. As long as you get lucky."
Using a makeshift lineup, United (6-4-2) was lacking magic much of the first half, but got stronger as the match unfolded and rebounded from Saturday's embarrassing loss at previously winless Real Salt Lake. The win also extended its home unbeaten streak against Colorado to nine games and handed the Rapids a fifth consecutive defeat.
Colorado (4-7-3), also missing key players, took the lead on Jacob Peterson's goal in the 19th minute, but United tied it on Christian Gomez's penalty kick in the 34th and sealed its fifth straight victory at RFK on late goals by Addlery and the Brazilians Fred and Luciano Emilio.
With Bobby Boswell, Ben Olsen and Jaime Moreno at Copa America and Bryan Namoff out with a hamstring injury, United Coach Tom Soehn was confronted by all kinds of lineup decisions. He then lost Kpene early and had to dig deeper into his bench.
"I give him a lot of credit because he came into a difficult situation and he worked his keister off," Soehn said of Addlery. "In the end, he made some really big plays."
Addlery, 25, had played 37 uneventful minutes the previous seven matches and, despite United's absences, was passed over to start last night. When Kpene went down, he got up.
"This game, you always have to be prepared mentally. What are you going to do? Injuries happen," Addlery said. "I had maybe 80 minutes to get into it."
Addlery missed an opportunity to influence the match in the 58th when, instead of finding Fred or Emilio on the counterattack, he ventured out on his own and smashed a wayward shot. But in the 71st, with the rain gaining intensity and lightning moving into the area, Addlery gained position on Brandon Prideaux and nodded in Fred's corner kick from six yards.
Following the delay, Addlery touched the ball to Fred, who glided into the box and slid a low shot under goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul. "When I made the run, the ball was right there," Fred said. "I sort of felt like crying" because it was his first goal after ample opportunities the first 11 games.