D.C. United Topple Red Bulls, 2-0

By Paul Tenorio
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 5, 2009

It had been more than a month of solid league performances for D.C. United, all of which were undermined by a frustrating letdown of some sort that would steal the satisfaction of a win.

But last night, with a showing perhaps not as strong as some of those previous contests, D.C. United turned in a complete game and was rescued by a tremendous save late from goalkeeper Josh Wicks in a 2-0 win over the New York Red Bulls in front of 11,226 at a rainy RFK Stadium.

It was United's first MLS win since May 2, a stretch of five games in which D.C. went 0-1-4. United won a U.S. Open Cup game, 5-3, over New York (2-8-3) on May 20.

"It's kind of funny that on the day I thought we've had better moments soccer-wise, you come out and take a game in which you shore [things] up," United Coach Tom Soehn said. "So there's a real positive in that because we've been looking to do that. But on the day it wasn't our best soccer day, we didn't create our normal chances like we do, but at least we were opportunistic on the ones we did."

United (4-2-7) had gone up in the first half on a nice combination up the right sideline that set up a Santino Quaranta finish at the near post.

But perhaps no play was bigger than the save from Wicks, who turned in another strong performance as he looks to solidify himself atop the depth chart at goalkeeper.

In the 86th minute, a ball from the right side was flicked on in the box by Dane Richards and fell to the right foot of talented New York forward Juan Pablo Ángel, who hit a one-time volley with the inside of his right foot.

The low shot was well placed to the lower left corner of the goal, but Wells was there to push it past the post and maintain United's lead.

"The ball fell for him and you have split second to [make] your decision," Wicks said. "And fortunately I just held my ground and waited and made a good reaction save and that helped us preserve the victory."

In the steady rain, United did well to hold the ball and pushed forward with some effectiveness, though they were unable to capitalize on some shots from distance early.

Long-range efforts from Clyde Simms, Bryan Namoff and Chris Pontius in the first 15 minutes were off target. But United finally broke through on a quick-moving attack up the right sideline in the 36th minute.

A throw in targeted forward Ange N'Silu, who flicked a header on to Luciano Emilio, who in turn headed the ball upfield to an overlapping Fred.

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