- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 27, 2000

UNITED 3, RHINOS 0

The smallest home crowd in D.C. United's five-year history watched the club slap aside another Major League Soccer wannabe last night.

But this United victory sent a message: There won't be a repeat champion in this year's U.S. Open Cup. So much for the over-hyped A-League mystique. United made sure that after three rounds, there isn't an A-League club left in the tournament.

Marco Etcheverry registered his second straight three-assist game, Chris Albright scored two goals and Jamie Moreno added another as United shut out the Rochester Raging Rhinos 3-0 in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup before an announced 3,186 at RFK Stadium.

United will play the Miami Fusion of Major League Soccer on Aug. 9 in the tournament's quarterfinals. A time and site for the game will be determined today.

This game was the second meeting between these teams. They first clashed in the 1996 U.S. Open Cup finals at RFK, and United shut out the Raging Rhinos 3-0 in that one, too.

In two games against A-League competition during this year's U.S. Open Cup, United has outscored the Charleston (S.C.) Battery and the Raging Rhinos 7-0.

"The MLS is the MLS for a reason," Albright said.

United sealed the game in the 59th minute when Moreno's goal made it 2-0. United forward Raul Diaz Arce played a long ball toward Etcheverry running down the right wing. Etcheverry laid the ball off to Moreno, who tapped in the insurance goal from six yards out.

Raging Rhinos coach Pat Ercoli blamed fatigue, more than United's superior skill, for his club's punchless performance.

"I think fatigue played a big part in regards to our team," Ercoli said. "Maybe we caught them at the wrong time, but I don't think that's the case. I don't think we had enough in our tank to be able to do what we wanted to do."

The Raging Rhinos played back-to-back games over the weekend in Canada. They fought to a scoreless draw in Toronto on Saturday and lost 3-1 in Montreal on Sunday.

Etcheverry, Diaz Arce and Moreno were able to penetrate open space between the Raging Rhinos midfield and four-man back line. When Etcheverry gets the slightest space he can make teams pay and last night he did.

"The team is playing good," Etcheverry said downplaying his three assists. "We're playing simple as a team. That's the only thing we need is to play together. We're now playing 90 minutes of consistent soccer."

Etcheverry and United put an exclamation point on this game in the 89th minute. A Moreno cross from the right found Etcheverry, who headed the ball down to Albright. He did the rest by putting the ball away from 10 yards out to make it 3-0.

United took a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute on a routine shot that turned into a goal.

From 40 yards out on the right flank, Albright played a short ball to Etcheverry angling toward the middle of the field. As soon as Albright fed Etcheverry, he ran toward the top of the 18-yard box. Etcheverry hit Albright in stride, and United's 21-year-old Olympian uncorked an undistinguished left-footed strike.

However, Albright's shot deflected off Raging Rhinos central defender Scott Schweitzer, who was roughly six yards off Albright and inside the 18-yard box.

The lucky deflection flew over Raging Rhinos goalkeeper Scott Vallow's head and into the net. United's goal forced the Raging Rhinos to spread the field. Until United scored, the Raging Rhinos were content on packing it in inside the box. The Raging Rhinos opted to play defensive soccer and brought everybody back when United held the ball.

Note FIFA's two-referee experiment was in place for last night's game. Referees Gerrie Corrie and Noel Kenny worked the match. The duo issued two yellow cards against the Raging Rhinos and whistled both teams for 33 combined fouls.

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