Road Woes Continue For United

luciano emilio - d.c. united
Luciano Emilio and D.C. United were playing minus MLS all-time leading scorer Jaime Moreno, who is sidelined with a hamstring strain on Sunday. (Bill Kostroun - AP)

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By Steven Goff
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 23, 2007

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., July 22 -- The opportunities presented themselves at their usual regular intervals: Bobby Boswell's header and Nicholas Addlery's one-on-one charge, Christian Gomez's rising six-yard shot and Fred's lunging attempt at a header while being yanked by the jersey.

No matter the circumstances, distances, opponent or players involved, D.C. United simply cannot score on the road.

On another maddening day of unfulfilled attacking soccer, United again failed to take advantage of its chances Sunday and dropped a 1-0 decision to the New York Red Bulls before 14,705 at Giants Stadium.

"We had plenty of opportunities to not only get back," Coach Tom Soehn lamented, "but to win."

United (7-6-3) played well enough to earn at least a tie, but after falling behind on John Wolyniec's header in the 19th minute, it failed to find the target and, consequently, fell to fifth place in MLS's Eastern Conference.

D.C. is winless in three matches since a rejuvenating 7-1-2 run and has been shut out in four of eight road games. It has scored five times away from RFK Stadium and only two goals have come on the past five trips. With the victory, the Red Bulls (8-6-3) earned just their second win in the last 18 meetings in all competitions against United and snapped a seven-game winless streak at home against their archrivals.

"We're just lacking something right now and we've got to figure out what that is," United goalkeeper Troy Perkins said.

It was not difficult to figure out this loss: faulty defending on Wolyniec's goal and inefficient shooting. There was also the matter of a non-call deep in the penalty area and an ejection, both involving Fred and both coming late in the match.

In the 88th minute, Gomez drove a free kick toward Fred, whose momentum was abruptly halted by a New York defender pulling his jersey. The ball flew by untouched.

"The guy had a hold of my shirt and the referee told me it actually hit my hand, which didn't happen," said Fred, whose jersey had a gaping hole in the stomach area, apparently the result of the tug. Asked if he thought United should have received a penalty kick from referee Abiodun Okulaja, Fred responded, "Of course."

Soehn was more diplomatic, saying: "It looked like [a foul], but I've got to see the tape. Obviously when it's going that fast, it's tough for referees to make a split-second decision."

A couple minutes later, an overaggressive Fred challenged Dane Richards with a hard tackle at midfield and was given a red card. United's comeback hopes already grim, the ejection extinguished them.


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