D.C. United edges El Salvador, 1-0, in friendly

By Jorge Castillo
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, June 20, 2010

D.C. United's friendly against the El Salvador national team Saturday night may have been at RFK Stadium, but it might as well have been played in San Salvador.

Thousands of boisterous Salvadoran fans among an announced crowd of 10,240 turned out for the friendly and drowned out the small contingent of United supporters. It wasn't enough, however. Adam Cristman, a second-half substitution, put United in front with a goal in the 51st minute on a cross from Kurt Morsink, and that was all the scoring needed as D.C. extended its unbeaten streak to six with a 1-0 win.

"I was just able to make a good near-post run and keep it on goal," said Cristman, one of 20 players to see action for D.C.

The first half went back and forth, but the hosts had the upper hand in quality chances and corners, where United held a 5-1 advantage.

The host team's first threatening chance came off the right foot of midfielder Andy Najar, who had a blocked shot land at his feet in the 14th minute. He misfired, though, setting off cheers from the pro-El Salvador crowd.

After a series of nifty moves past defenders, captain Jaime Moreno drew a foul just outside the box in the 36th minute, and on the subsequent free kick he passed to Chris Pontius, who fired it at Salvadoran goalkeeper Dagoberto Portillo. The shot was saved and United's Luciano Emilio couldn't take advantage of the rebound, just missing the ball after a diving effort.

In the 39th minute, Julius James redirected a Najar cross just over the net, and in the next minute, Portillo had to make a full-extension, diving save on a well-struck Marc Burch free kick to keep it scoreless.

El Salvador's best scoring opportunity in the first 45 minutes was a free kick in the 19th minute that United goaltender Troy Perkins saved with ease.

Following the quick Cristman goal to start the second half, the Salvadorans created more chances, none better than former United player Eliseo Quintanilla's free kick off the post in the 54th minute. One minute later, Salvadoran fans thought their team had tied it, but an offside call nullified the goal.

United had an opportunity to seal the match in the 86th minute, but Danny Allsopp's low shot went wide of the post.

The Salvadorans held the advantage in shots, 10-9, but United Coach Curt Onalfo felt his team had more quality chances.

"It was a very good result, but it was unfortunate that we didn't score more goals," he said. "Throughout the game, we were the better team."

In the 84th minute, fans were treated to some extra entertainment when a shirtless man hoisting a Salvadoran flag sprinted across the field with a security guard in pursuit. Later on in extra time, two more men ran across the field -- this time during play -- before making their way to the stands. Also, containers were thrown onto the field as the game wrapped up.

Play on the field also became a little disorderly, resulting in a player from each team needing medical attention before returning to the game.

"I think we could've had a couple penalty kicks," said Onalfo, referring to the physical play.

The match's proceeds will benefit the Spanish Catholic Center and United for D.C., the team's charitable organization.

United is off until next Saturday when it travels to Columbus for its first league match since June 10.

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