Even with its four top scorers out of the starting lineup in anticipation of its opening match in the CONCACAF Champions Cup next week, D.C. United still had enough in reserve for a 2-0 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy tonight.
A.J. Wood scored in the 17th minute and Clint Peay in the 56th while backup goalkeeper Mark Simpson, who replaced Tom Presthus at halftime, made two second-half saves for United (23-7), which extended its franchise-record winning streak to 11 matches before 29,161 at the Rose Bowl.
Wood was among the beneficiaries of the match's proximity to the start of the Champions Cup. With Roy Lassiter and Jaime Moreno, the first- and sixth-leading scorers in Major League Soccer, respectively, held out of the starting lineup, Wood received his second start in the last 10 matches.
After several determined Galaxy attacks, United broke the pressure with rookie midfielder Jason Moore sending a pass to Wood, who placed a 25-yard shot just inside the left post and past goalkeeper Kevin Hartman. It was Wood's eighth goal and first since Aug. 11, eight matches ago.
In just his second start and fifth appearance, defender Peay got his first goal and second in 43 MLS matches over four seasons with a 30-yard shot that deflected off the right post and into the net.
The match was almost meaningless for United, which clinched the Eastern Conference regular season title two weeks ago. However, it was vital for Los Angeles (18-11), which is just one point ahead of Colorado in the race for first place in the Western Conference and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
With that much at stake and facing a defense that gave it ample space, the Galaxy was unable to take advantage of its scoring opportunities. Just three of its seven first-half shots were on goal.
Cobi Jones's 11th-minute bid went wide left and his 34th-minute shot sailed wide right as Presthus was sprawled on the ground. Presthus made a save on Carlos Hermosillo's eighth-minute shot, Jones's 32nd-minute header and barely punched Greg Vanney's 39th-minute shot over the crossbar.
The Galaxy continued its erratic shooting in the second half, with seven of nine failing to find the target. Jones put a shot over the net in the 50th minute and Hermosillo sent one wide right three minutes later.
When Los Angeles did put a shot on net, Simpson was there to catch Roy Myers's bicycle-kick shot in the 67th minute and stop Vanney's long bid in the 80th.
United Coach Thomas Rongen fielded his 27th different lineup in 29 MLS matches, keeping to his plan of resting midfielders Marco Etcheverry, Ben Olsen and Richie Williams. Lassiter was held out of the starting lineup, but entered at the start of the second half.
Rongen had planned to play central defender Carlos Llamosa the entire game, but a groin injury he suffered in training forced him out of the lineup in favor of Carey Talley.
METROSTARS 2, MUTINY 1: Eduardo Hurtado and Henry Zambrano scored in the first half as New York/New Jersey (7-24) surprised playoff-bound Tampa Bay (14-16) before 12,101 at Raymond James Stadium.
The MetroStars had lost 14 of their previous 15 matches, but beat the Mutiny for the third time in four games this year.
RAPIDS 1, WIZARDS 0: Visiting Colorado (19-9) won a shootout, 3-2, over Kansas City (8-22) after a scoreless regulation before 9,592 at Arrowhead Stadium.