- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 16, 2006

D.C. United midfielder/defender Joshua Gros may not have the flair of his teammates Freddy Adu, Jaime Moreno and Christian Gomez, but he makes up for it with his effort.

Gros, who once spent time in officer reserve training camp to be a U.S. Marine, put in another workmanlike game last night, scoring the go-ahead goal to help D.C. United down the Houston Dynamo 2-0 before 15,015 fans at RFK Stadium. It marked the second consecutive win at home for United (2-0-1).

While Gros did a lot of the hard work, Gomez had some delicate touches and scored his first goal of the season, and Adu came alive late in the game.

United coach Peter Nowak again tinkered with his lineup, starting Adu in place of Alecko Eskandarian and going with a four-man backline of Facundo Erpen, Bobby Boswell, Gros and Brandon Prideaux. Most of the time Gros ran up into the midfield on the left flank.

His running paid off. In the 25th minute, Gros won a free kick about 20 yards from the goal. Gomez floated a nice cross to Moreno, who ran close to the goal and fired a close-range shot. Dynamo goalie Pat Onstad only managed to slap the ball away. Gros, who stood just inside the 6-yard box, pounced on the ball and slammed the shot home.

“I like to run and see some open field, and I saw quite a bit of that today,” Gros said. “It’s always a game with the guy on the other team. You can’t get caught forward, but you’ve got to get forward to create some opportunities.”

Minutes later, Brian Ching — who has five goals in just two games for the Dynamo (1-2) — put the ball in the United net but was called offside.

“I think we played two complete halves,” Nowak said. “We had chances to score more goals, but overall this is what we expect. … The fans were amazing, and the whole stadium was just unbelievable and gave us a lift.”

United came close again in the 39th minute when Moreno headed wide a Gomez corner kick. The teams traded five shots apiece in the evenly matched first 45 minutes.

Forward Lucio Filomeno had a number of chances and nearly stole a goal for United early in the game when he tried to lob a loose ball over Onstad. Nowak replaced the Argentine with Eskandarian in the 63rd minute. Adu nearly gave United a 2-0 lead at the 68th minute mark, but his shot from Gomez’s pass went wide.

But Adu remained a threat. The 16-year-old won an important free kick about 24 yards out. Gomez fired the shot, which was deflected past Onstad to seal the win in the 71st minute. Adu kept challenging the Houston goal and sent a curling shot just over the bar. In the 81st minute, he hit the bar with a shot from a wicked left-foot blast. The kid was beginning to have fun.

“That’s the biggest difference in my game,” Adu said. “My new motto now is ‘enjoy yourself’ when you are playing.”

Throughout the game, United had to face the danger of Adrian Serioux’s 40-yard throw-in. But United goalie Troy Perkins looked confident all night and seemed to do well with the high balls. Perkins pulled off a big save in the closing minutes on a shot by Ronald Cerritos to earn his second consecutive shutout.

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