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Up North, D.C. Can't Shake Its Cold Snap

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"Whatever happened when I tried to kick it, I just lost my footing," McTavish said. "He got a step on me and it was pretty much over from there."

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McTavish suffered another embarrassing moment midway through the opening half when, after chasing a clearance 40 yards to midfield, he stumbled on the wet artificial turf and crashed onto his chest, triggering a derisive roar from the crowd.

"I think I tripped over the white line," he said. "It was one of those days. My feet weren't up to par with my head."

Despite the weather and the slick surface, United attacked fluidly at times, kept its shape and made good use of the flanks. But the club continued to labor in the final third of the field and managed only two quality scoring chances in the first half: Emilio's shot over the crossbar after beating goalie Greg Sutton to the ball and Marcelo Gallardo's 30-yard drive that took a slight deflection and streaked narrowly past the top right corner.

United probably should have pulled even 30 seconds into the second half, but after being set up nicely by Moreno, Fred ballooned a clear 18-yarder well out of play.

The Brazilian had a much easier opportunity in the 64th minute when Gallardo delivered an outstanding cross to the edge of the six-yard box. Unmarked and staring at wide openings on either side of Sutton, who was stranded on the goal line, Fred headed it directly at the keeper. Sutton made a sprawling block before Dichio cleared the ball from danger.

"The keeper had a very quick reaction to it," Fred, who missed the previous three games with quadriceps and hamstring injuries, said through an interpreter. "I am sad about the outcome because it could have changed the game."

Soehn removed Fred and inserted Marc Burch to provide better service from the wing. But time was running out on United, and the addition of Domenic Mediate and Francis Doe in the final eight minutes didn't improve the club's situation.

Toronto held its ground and counterattacked in an attempt to put the game out of reach, but against a fading United team, one goal was enough.

Attempting to accentuate the positive in an otherwise dreary spring, Wells said: "The goals and the wins will come. When we were short a few guys, maybe the effort and execution weren't there. Now the effort is there and we are playing more consistent."


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