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D.C. thumps Dallas; Bulls blank Blanco
by Ridge Mahoney, September 4th, 2007 7AM

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D.C. handed Dallas its worst loss ever at Pizza Hut Park; New York edged Chicago in a battle of DPs; Kansas City came out of Houston with a point; Columbus and Colorado tied to remain deadlocked in the final playoffs spot; and Real Salt Lake dropped the Galaxy deeper into the Western Conference cellar. Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney reviews last weekend's MLS action ...

D.C. POUNDS DALLAS IN DENILSON DEBUT. FC Dallas can keep adding attackers until the cows come home but unless its defensive problems are sorted out it won't be harvesting a title this season. Ben Olsen scored early and late in the first half and Christian Gomez tallied a goal and set up Fred for another to lift D.C. United (13-6-3) into a first-place tie with New England atop the Eastern Conference and the overall standings with a 4-0 rout.

Olsen embarrassed FCD keeper Dario Sala, making his first appearance since conceding six goals in a 6-5 SuperLiga loss to the Galaxy a month ago, by looping a 35-yard shot in the fourth minute. Sala's goal kick was headed to Olsen by Clyde Simms, and the keeper couldn't recover when Olsen let fly.

In first-half stoppage time Sala saved superbly from Luciano Emilio but Olsen got to the rebound for his seventh goal of the season.

Rather than letting its early lead slip, as had been the case on July 14 at RFK when D.C. scored the first three goals of the game but ended up tied, 3-3, United added two more goals in the first five minutes of the second half to go up, 4-0. By the time Denilson entered the match for his MLS debut in the 55th minute, there was no way back for Dallas (11-8-3).

BULLS BLANK BLANCO. Red Bull New York won its league-high eighth home of the season by shutting out Cuauhtemoc Blanco and his Fire teammates, 1-0.

Juan Pablo Angel joined a logjam atop the MLS scoring charts with his 14th goal, which didn't arrive until the 75th minute. Rookie Dane Richards, working through the middle, slipped past Gonzalo Segares and fed Angel the pass he drove past keeper Matt Pickens.

Midfielders Claudio Reyna and Joe Vide led a strong defensive effort that shackled Blanco for most of the match. The Fire (7-10-5) took just seven shots, three of which were saved by Red Bulls keeper Ronald Wattereus.

Jozy Altidore sat out the match with an injury to his left leg, so Angel played alongside John Wolyniec up top and Clint Mathis shifted to left midfield. Francis Doe, signed earlier in the week, came on for Wolyniec early in the second half as the Red Bulls (11-9-3) broke a two-game losing streak against the Eastern Conference.

Fire head coach Juan Carlos Osorio used forward Chris Rolfe as an attacking midfielder on the right, with Blanco was a second forward in support of Paulo Wanchope. Calen Carr replaced Rolfe in the 60th minute but seldom threatened with his runs out wide.

DYNAMO DEADLOCK. Houston's home form is fizzling at just the wrong time. It tied its second straight match at Robertson Stadium, 1-1, and had to rally with a Joseph Ngwenya goal after conceding a goal in first-half stoppage time.

Five minutes after Kansas City (9-9-6) keeper Kevin Hartman snagged a Ricardo Clark header, Michael Harrington released Scott Sealy down the left side, and Eddie Johnson first-timed Sealy's low cross into the net for his 14th goal. Johnson shares the MLS goalscoring lead with Angel and Emilio.

There were seven cautions in the first 61 minutes of play with several given for dissent and game disrepute. The rest were for pushing and holding, of which there was plenty, but in the 69th minute Dwayne DeRosario took off on a 50-yard dribble and despite the Dynamo attacking with just two against four, Ngwenya escaped Nick Garcia to smash a low shot between Hartman and the near post.

Johnson nearly won it for Kansas City in the final minutes but left back Wade Barrett blocked his attempt. Houston (11-7-6) retained its lead atop the Western Conference but has only a three-point lead on idle Chivas USA, which has played four fewer games.

AS YOU WERE. The Rapids are Crew are still tied for the eighth and final playoff spot with 28 points after tying 1-1 in Columbus.

Eddie Gaven scored in first-half stoppage time to give Columbus (6-7-10) the lead on a great feed from Stefan Miglioranzi, whose through ball sent Gaven free on the right side to shoot through the ankles of Colorado keeper Bouna Coundoul.

Columbus nearly doubled the lead midway through the second half when Alejandro Moreno ran onto a Guillermo Barros Schelotto that burned the Rapids offside trap, but Moreno shot against the post and Jacob Thomas hit Coundoul with his follow-up attempt.

The Crew squandered a valuable home win with five minutes left.

Soft marking in midfield allowed Herculez Gomez ample time to pick out Mehdi Ballouchy near the right-wing corner, and he lofted a cross into the goalmouth that Conor Casey snapped into the net with his head for his second goal of the season and kept Colorado (7-9-7) and the Crew even with seven games left in the season. The Fire is just two points behind them.

REVIVAL. The Galaxy plummeted further into the basement by blowing a 1-0 lead at Home Depot Center and losing, 2-1.

Alan Gordon, who scored three goals in the SuperLiga but had yet to net in MLS, put away a Landon Donovan feed in the sixth minute to give LA a great start. Keeper Nick Rimando kicked away an Edson Buddle shot that would have doubled the lead and two apparent RSL equalizers, by Alecko Eskandarian and Gordon, were disallowed for offside. Steve Cronin, given the start in goal in preference to Joe Cannon, stopped Eskandarian in first-half stoppage time.

Referee Abbey Okulaja whistled for a penalty kick when Carey Talley fouled Gordon early in the second half, and again the Galaxy flubbed the chance. Rimando stopped Donovan's penalty kick.

Another opportunity went awry when Cobi Jones rattled the frame with a shot.

RSL (4-11-5) equalized midway through the second half. Ex-Galaxy forward Robbie Findley snuck in behind the back line on a ball by Andy Williams and belted his sixth goal of the season past Cronin. Just four minutes later Eddie Pope, goalless on the season, reacted quickest to Cronin's save of an Eskandarian free kick and knocked it in.

In the final minutes Gordon hit the crossbar, a frustrating moment ideal for summing up the match, and the season, for Los Angeles (3-11-5).

GAME SUMMARIES
Sept. 1 in East Rutherford, N.J.
New York 1 Chicago 0. Goal: Angel (Richards) 75.
New York - Waterreus, Parke, Stammler, van den Bergh, Leitch, Richards, Reyna, Vide (Magee, 69), Mathis (Mendes, 89), Wolyniec (Doe, 63), Angel.
Chicago - Pickens, Brown, Armas, Gutierrez (Barrett, 89), Segares, Pause, Blanco, Soumare, Guerrero (Banner, 66), Wanchope, Rolfe (Carr, 60).
Yellow Cards: New York - Vide 27; Chicago - Wanchope 86.
Referee: Terry Vaughn.
Att.: 13,219.


Sept. 1 in Frisco, Texas
FC Dallas 0 D.C. United 4. Goals: Olsen (Simms) 4, Olsen 46+, Gomez 47, Fred (Gomez) 50.
FC Dallas - Sala, Gbandi (Oduro, 67), Goodson, Moor, Pitchkolan, Alvarez, Ricchetti, Toja (Rhine, 82), McCarty, Ruiz, Ricardinho (Denilson, 55).
D.C. United - Perkins, Boswell, Namoff, Vanney, Burch, Simms, Gomez (Dyachenko, 81), Olsen (Mediate, 62), Fred, Moreno, Emilio (McTavish, 51).
Yellow Cards: FC Dallas - Goodson 58, Denilson 77; D.C. United - Simms 25, Moreno 76.
Referee: Brian Hall.
Att.: 15,747.


Sept. 1 in Houston
Houston 1 Kansas City 1. Goals: Ngwenya (De Rosario) 69; Johnson (Sealy, Harrington) 46+.
Houston - Onstad, Ianni, Cochrane, Robinson, Mullan, Clark, Mulrooney, Ashe, Barrett, De Rosario, Ngwenya (Wondolowski, 88).
Kansas City - Hartman, Jewsbury (Raybould, 74), Conrad, Garcia, Harrington, Arnaud, Victorine (Colombano, 72), Zavagnin, Morsink, Johnson, Sealy (Marinelli, 66).
Yellow Cards: Houston - Ngwenya 27, Mulrooney 32, Ianni 51; Kansas City - Conrad 29, Johnson 47, Morsink 47, Jewsbury 61.
Referee: Ramon Hernandez.
Att.: 13,530.


Sept. 1 in Carson, Calif.
Los Angeles 1 Real Salt Lake 2. Goals: Gordon (Donovan, Vagenas) 6; Findley (Williams) 67, Pope 71.
Los Angeles Galaxy - Cronin, Klein, Roberts, Xavier, Randolph, Donovan, Harmse, Vagenas (Glinton, 88), Martino (Jones, 65), Buddle (Pavon, 70), Gordon.
Real Salt Lake - Rimando, Kipre, Mantilla, Pope, Kotschau, Morales (Williams, 63), Beckerman, Brown (Findley, 58), Talley, Espindola (Wingert, 75), Eskandarian.
Yellow Cards: Los Angeles - Donovan 13, Randolph 45, Roberts 70, Gordon 84; Real Salt Lake - Mantilla 73.
Red Card: Los Angeles - Roberts 77.
Referee: Abbey Okulaja.
Att.: 27,000.


Sept. 2 in Columbus
Columbus 1 Colorado 1. Goals: Gaven (Miglioranzi) 46+; Casey (Ballouchy, Gomez) 84.
Columbus - Hesmer, Hejduk, Hendrickson, Pierce, Miglioranzi, Schelotto, O'Rourke, Oughton, Grabavoy (Thomas, 65), Gaven, Moreno (Herron, 74).
Colorado - Coundoul, Ihemelu, Erpen, Petke, Prideaux, Ballouchy (Hernandez, 91+), Kirovski, Mastroeni (Gomez, 47), Sanneh, Clark (Peterson, 71), Casey.
Yellow Cards: Columbus - Oughton 88; Colorado - Erpen 26, Casey 49, Ihemelu 62, Ballouchy 88.
Referee: Tim Weyland.
Att.: n/a.



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