- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 22, 2005

CHICAGO — Without the services of Freddy Adu because of suspension or Ben Olsen because of injury, D. C. United didn’t do much last night in its Eastern Conference semifinal playoff opener with the Chicago Fire.

Which was fine with coach Peter Nowak.

United played the full 90 minutes without recording a shot on goal, but goalkeeper Nick Rimando made two saves and United came away from the first game of the home-and-away series with a scoreless tie.

The deciding game will be played Oct. 30 at RFK Stadium. If the regulation game ends in a tie, a 30-minute mini-game will be played, and if that ends in a tie, the outcome will be determined by a shootout.

Nowak suspended Adu for one game yesterday, and the team statement included no official reason for the action. But it apparently was because of Adu’s comments Tuesday complaining about his playing time after not starting United’s last regular-season game against Columbus.

“The club has issued a statement and the case is closed for me,” Nowak said. “It was a difficult decision for me, but we look forward to next weekend.”

Adu’s place on the United roster for last night’s game was filled by United’s recent acquisition, Argentine forward Lucio Filomeno, who was listed as a reserve.

Olsen was removed from the lineup because of a strained calf. He tried to go before the game but was unable to perform to Nowak’s standards.

John Wilson was moved into the starting lineup in Olsen’s place.

It being the first game of a home-and-away aggregate goal series, neither team seemed in a hurry to settle the issue early. The first half featured more yellow cards (three) than shots on goal (one by Chicago), with Dema Kovalenko and Santino Quaranta getting tagged with cards for United.

In the 45th minute, Rimando was upended making a save, giving the Fire their lone chance to score. But a shot by Fire midfielder Jesse Marsch was sent out by United midfielder Brian Carroll.

The Fire recorded a pair of shots on goal in the second half, including a corner kick in the 90th minute that resulted in Fire forward Chad Barrett putting a header past Rimando. But referee Brian Hall waved the goal off, saying “there were four or five guys pushing,” according to Fire coach Dave Sarachan.

“As the home team, the onus was on us to win the game and we tried to do that,’ Sarachan said. “We had a few opportunities but we didn’t convert.”

Nowak said the tight style of play was the standard for MLS playoffs.

“From the tactical standpoint, the way we prepare the game plan, I think the players did everything we asked them to,’ Nowak said.

“Chicago didn’t do much today. We didn’t create [as many] situations as we normally do, but this is the playoffs. Every game is going to be very tight.”

Said Quaranta: “It wasn’t our type of game we are used to playing. But it is a playoff game on the road.”

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