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Stubborn Barons succumb to late United goals
by Ridge Mahoney, July 1st, 2009 7AM



[U.S. OPEN CUP] D.C. United fielded many of its reserves for a U.S. Open Cup match against the PDL (fourth-tier) Ocean City Barons, and encountered enough resistance that it needed one of its veterans to supply the breakthrough.

Christian Gomez converted a penalty kick in the 74th minute and Ange N'Silu added a second goal late into stoppage time Tuesday at the Maryland SoccerPlex to carry United past Ocean City, 2-0, and into the quarterfinals. USL-2 team Harrisburg, which upset New England, will play D.C. United in the next round.

Gomez and rookie Chris Pontius came into the match as substitute to liven up United's performance. Coach Tom Soehn gave starting roles to keeper Milos Kocic, midfielders John DiRaimondo, Andrew Jacobson and Brandon Barklage, and paired N'Silu with forward Boyzzz Khumalo up top. Regulars Greg Janicki, Devon McTavish and Marc Burch comprised the defense. Rookie midfielder Rodney Wallace kept his starting spot and veteran midfielder Ben Olsen wore the captain's armband.

A contentious first half that ended 0-0 had prompted Ocean City coach Neil Holloway to scream his criticisms of ref Jeff Gontarek at full volume, and early in the second half Gontarek sauntered over to the Barons' bench and dismissed their coach.

By then, Pontius had replaced Olsen, yet still United's play didn't satisfy Soehn, and midway through the second half an injury to DiRaimondo resulted in the insertion of Gomez. Six minutes later, his run at goal took him past two challenges to slot a pass for N'Silu, whose sharp cut forced a desperate lunge by goalie Tunde Ogunbiyi that knocked N'Silu off his feet.

The keeper, who finished the game with 10 saves, picked the correct side yet still couldn't keep Gomez low shot out of the net and United went up, 1-0.

Back surged the plucky PDL team to force a pair of good saves from Kocic and several corner kicks. United escaped again during a scramble when a Barons shot came back from the crossbar, and got its second goal when N'Silu tucked away Ogunbiyi's save of a Burch free kick.

Ocean City had reached the third round by beating another local team, Real Maryland (USL-2), 1-0 in overtime when J.T. Noone converted a penalty kick in the 108th minute.

June 30 in Boyds, Md.
D.C. United 2 (MLS), Ocean City Barons (PDL) 0.

Goals: Gomez (penalty kick) 74, N'Silu 93+.
D.C. United - Kocic; Janicki, Burch, McTavish, Olsen (Pontius, 46), Barklage, Wallace (Simms, 75), Jacobson, DiRaimondo (Gomez, 68), Khumalo, N'Silu.
Ocean City - Ogunbiyi; Neptune, Banks, McCrae, Reddick (Richter, 76), Brown, Davis, Carmichael (Miller, 77), Curran (Melchionni, 71), Noone, Swetra.
Referee: Jeff Gontarek.
Att.: 2,021.


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