In the 76th minute of D.C. United's season opener against Chivas USA at Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., midfielder Christian Gomez pushed a routine shot past goalkeeper Brad Guzan to secure a 2-0 victory.
Ten weeks later, with about a third of the MLS schedule completed, United is still waiting for another away goal.
Following two 0-0 ties and a pair of 1-0 losses on the road, D.C. (3-4-3) will arrive at Giants Stadium this evening with a 374-minute scoreless streak on opponents' turf. The club's ineffectiveness away from RFK Stadium has contributed ominously to its drop to last place in the six-team Eastern Conference and has created a greater sense of urgency heading into tonight's match against the New York/New Jersey MetroStars.
"We're not just concentrating on the goals; we're concentrating on the whole package," Coach Peter Nowak said yesterday. "It's important that we still create the chances and not think too much about it and just put the thing in. It's a matter of time before we score the goals."
United's weakness through the early part of the season was its defense, but now the problem is the attack, which followed a three-goal performance May 21 at home against Kansas City with scoreless efforts the following week vs. Dallas at RFK and last weekend at San Jose.
Some games United generates an abundance of opportunities but fails to finish them, other games the club's attack has little to offer.
"Sometimes when you're a player, you go without a goal for two, three, four, five games, you start thinking about it too much and you put a lot of pressure on yourself," midfielder Dema Kovalenko said. "But that's normal. It's going to come for the guys. Honestly, I'm not worried about it. We have a lot of guys who can score goals and someone is going to do it."
United's primary forwards -- Jaime Moreno, Alecko Eskandarian and Santino Quaranta -- have combined for just five goals, three coming on Moreno penalty kicks, in a collective 1,784 minutes. A year ago Eskandarian led the team with 10 regular season goals and four postseason strikes, and was named the most valuable player of the 2004 MLS Cup.
But he has yet to score in nine appearances this season and last week was benched in favor of Quaranta.
"The team is behind Alecko," Nowak said. "I believe in his skills, and I believe in his motivation. Sometimes it's difficult to get back on track. Alecko still has to work hard for this team and convince the players around him that he can bury this thing."
Other than a well-struck goal against New England in April, Quaranta hasn't done much with his opportunities either. Moreno, meantime, hasn't had as much influence as last year, when his inventiveness helped turn around United's wayward season.
"It's not a secret," he said. "We have to put our chances away. Sometimes you make all the effort and it doesn't work. We just have to get better."
United Notes: Defender Bryan Namoff won't play because of a hip injury. . . . MLS rejected D.C.'s appeal of its May 14 reserve game loss at New England, saying both teams, not just the Revolution, used players for more than the 90-minute weekend limit. . . . Teenager Freddy Adu, who has a team-high four assists, will miss his second consecutive game because of U.S. under-20 national team commitments. The MetroStars are without midfielder Eddie Gaven (four goals in May) and reserve defender Tim Ward for the same reason. . . . Midfielder Clyde Simms has rejoined United after spending 21/2 weeks with the U.S. national team.