- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 7, 2006

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. — For D.C. United coach Peter Nowak and his team, last night’s 3-0 loss in the U.S. Open Cup semifinal wasn’t just disappointing. As far as he was concerned, it was more like highway robbery.

Only a tape of the game might be able to tell for sure what happened, but the fact is that Matias Donnet’s apparent game-tying goal for United in the 73rd minute was disallowed. The Chicago Fire took advantage of the shift in momentum to build a two-goal lead two minutes later before a small crowd of 5,153 at Toyota Park. They added a late score to win 3-0 and advance to the Cup final Sept. 27.

On his apparent goal, Donnet kicked in a rebound from about five yards out on the right side after a corner kick by Christian Gomez.

“I hope the final is going to be someplace else because the officials today won the game for the Fire — there’s no question,” Nowak said. “Instead of 1-1, we have 2-0. The whole work from the boys goes in the trash, and that’s not supposed to happen in the semifinals. I will look very closely because now there’s too many calls that [the Fire] has especially in this stadium. That’s not what soccer is all about or what competition is all about.”

Nowak said the officials did not tell him why the goal was disallowed, but United forward Freddy Adu said the officials had called defender Bryan Namoff offsides on the play.

“I’m not complaining about the refereeing, but sometimes we’ll get those calls and sometimes we won’t, and today they got those calls and they won the game,” Adu said. “We made too many mistakes. They scored on their chances. They played their game plan better than we played ours today.”

After a scoreless first half, Chicago broke the deadlock in the 58th minute when midfielder Justin Mapp took a long pass from Chris Armas and kicked it past goalie Troy Perkins, who had come out to attempt a save. United midfielder Brandon Prideaux, in his first game action since May, fell down trying to defend against the shot.

“I came to track him, and he was ahead of me,” Prideaux said. “I tried to bump him at the last minute, but I was off balance and he got through and finished it.”

After the disallowed goal, the Fire made it 2-0 in the 76th minute on a goal by Calen Carr, who received a long pass from Nate Jaqua.

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