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United Gets Another Tie After Late Rally

D.C. United rookie Chris Pontius, left, goes up for a header against Chivas USA's Paulo Nagamura. United is unbeaten in its last six MLS matches.
D.C. United rookie Chris Pontius, left, goes up for a header against Chivas USA's Paulo Nagamura. United is unbeaten in its last six MLS matches. (By Branimir Kvartuc -- Associated Press)
By Steven Goff
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, May 17, 2009; 1:29 AM

CARSON, Calif., May 16 -- D.C. United staged another stirring comeback Saturday night, scoring twice in the final 13 minutes to earn a 2-2 tie with Chivas USA and extend its unbeaten streak in league play to six.

Luciano Emilio struck in the 77th minute and Santino Quaranta was credited with the equalizer in the 85th on the last of several bizarre moments in front of 16,223 at Home Depot Center. By scoring in the closing moments for the fourth time in six games, United (3-1-6, 15 points) claimed a share of first place with Chicago (3-0-6, 15) in MLS's Eastern Conference and stretched its overall run to seven games.

"It's about a belief in themselves and each other," United Coach Tom Soehn said. "It's a no-die attitude: No matter what happens, we are going to fight through adversity, and adversity being sometimes officiating, sometimes the opponent."

Maykel Galindo scored a controversial goal midway through the first half and Eduardo Lillingston added another just before intermission for Chivas (7-1-2), which remained atop the Western Conference.

On the tying goal, Quaranta drove a low shot from 30 yards that slithered through the box and toward Christian Gómez, who was in an offside position. Gómez swiped at the ball and, although he didn't appear to make contact, admitted afterward that it "grazed me" before sliding into the left corner of the net.

Chivas argued that, whether or not Gómez made contact, he should've been ruled offside for interfering with the play and distracting goalkeeper Zach Thornton.

"He is involved in the play," Chivas defender Carey Talley said. "The referee said he didn't touch it, but we told him it shouldn't matter."

Both clubs benefited from questionable officiating. In the 25th minute, Galindo was clearly offside but play continued and he scored on a breakaway.

United's lineup brought more changes, most notably in goal, where Louis Crayton regained his job and Josh Wicks served as the back-up with rookie Milos Kocic, last weekend's starter, remaining at home.

Soehn kept his backline intact and rested playmaker Gómez in favor of a unique alignment that had Jaime Moreno and Quaranta supporting Emilio and rookies Rodney Wallace and Chris Pontius running the flanks.

Ben Olsen returned to defensive midfield, paired with Clyde Simms, after missing two games with a hamstring strain. But just six minutes into the match, he reached for his right leg after a midfield challenge and immediately signaled to the bench for a substitution. It was the hamstring again, prompting his exit and Andrew Jacobson's entrance.

"I felt it go," said Olsen, who expects to have an MRI exam Monday. "It's disappointing because I put the team in a bad spot. You don't want to be the guy that they're using an early sub on."

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