Sunday, February 27, 2005


D.C. United's Christian Gomez, left, was congratulated by teammate Alecko Eskandarian after scoring the game's only goal against the Los Angeles Galaxy.

United top Cobi-less

The defending MLS champions win
a physical Aloha Soccer Cup match
on a penalty kick

The only goal came on a penalty kick and D.C. United ran their preseason record to 6-0 with a 1-0 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy in the Aloha Soccer Cup at Aloha Stadium last night.

The defending Major League Soccer champions played the final 68 minutes a man short and weathered almost constant pressure from Los Angeles in the second half.

Only one of the two promoted stars of the match played. United midfielder/striker Freddy Adu played the second half. L.A. midfielder Cobi Jones did not play due to tendinitis in his right Achilles' tendon.

"The most important thing was we played good soccer, especially in the midfield. We worked hard even being a man down," said United coach Peter Nowak.

This was actually the second match between the teams in Hawaii, as they played a closed match Thursday at the University of Hawaii field. The match was supposed to be for reserves, but a number of front line players saw action and the intensity buildup started then.

"It was just a good physical match between two good MLS teams," said Nowak.

That trend continued last night in very windy conditions in front of 14,578 fans.

The Galaxy created two scoring opportunities in the first 11 minutes without success, both by striker Carlos Ruiz.

With 4 minutes gone, Chris Albright sent a cross from the right sideline about 8 yards off the line that Ruiz headed, but not with authority, and D.C. United goalkeeper Nick Rimando had an easy save.

The Los Angeles Galaxy's Joseph Ngwenya went up for a header in last night's game at Aloha Stadium.

A cross from 8 yards away at a tight angle from the left by Paul Broome with 38:51 remaining almost found the left post and barely eluded a sliding Ruiz's attempt to poke the ball into the net.

In between those two chances, D.C. United's Alecko Eskandarian received the first yellow card of the game for kicking Ugo Ihemelu. The physical play continued as the Galaxy's Paula Nagamura and United's Ben Olsen took swings at each other when Olsen objected to a Nagamura tackle. They had to be separated by teammates and play was halted for a time and both received yellow cards.

Rimando received a red card 22 minutes into the game when he took Ruiz down from behind outside the penalty box.

United striker Jamie Moreno picked up a yellow card for sending Ihemelu flying with a well-thrown hip in the 34th minute.

Moreno had things even out 2 minutes later. He was on a breakaway up the middle when he was shoved to the ground by Galaxy goalkeeper Kevin Hartman in the penalty box.

Christian Gomez converted the penalty in the 36th minute with a low blast inside the left post.

Troy Perkins, who replaced Rimando in the goal for United, made a point-blank save on Ruiz on the fourth of a flurry of Galaxy shots 3 minutes before the half.

Los Angeles's Peter Vagenas, left, battled for possession with D.C. United's Christian Gomez last night.

The Galaxy pressed early in the second half and forced Perkins to make two excellent saves, the second when he parried a left-footed shot from an unmarked Broome wide over the end line.

"We created a lot of opportunities, but now we have to learn how to put them away," Galaxy coach Steve Sampson said.

"There was a lot of intensity out there and the fans should appreciate the effort. The United goalkeeper came up big and he had to."

Six minutes into the half, Adu, who entered the match at halftime, excited the crowd when he dribbled the ball through midfield and slipped a pass to Moreno.

Moreno went one-on-one with a defender and was able to whirl around and shoot, but Hartman redirected the shot from 11 yards out over the crossbar.

Yet, only the occasional long ball and a solo run by a United striker moved the action out from the defending champions defensive half.

» In the Hawaii Youth Soccer Association Under-19 All-Star match preceding the MLS exhibition, the White team won 3-0 with all the goals coming in the second half.

Joshua Mangarin of Hawaii Prep broke the scoreless tie with 29 minutes to play when he found the upper right corner of the net from 14 yards out.

Six minutes later Leilehua's Ryan Bibilone made it 2-0 with a tough angle shot from the right side that hit the net just inside the left post.

The final goal came on a head shot from within the goalie's box by Sonny Dudoit of Waianae.

Short kicks: Hartman, Albright and Olsen have been called into the U.S. Men's World Cup qualifying training camp at by coach Bruce Arena. They leave today for Carson, Calif. ... The HYSA Under-11 Girls Presidents Day title match between the HSC Bulls '94G Ka'ula and the Ka'oi Soccer Club's Express ended in a 0-0 overtime tie. They are co-champions.

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