- The Washington Times - Friday, May 4, 2007

Coach Tom Soehn’s lineup changes last night didn’t earn D.C. United its first win, but they certainly helped produce the team’s first point of the season.

Thanks to Jaime Moreno’s goal, United scrapped to a 1-1 tie with the New England Revolution (2-1-2, eight points) before 12,908 at RFK Stadium.

“This is big step forward for us,” United midfielder Ben Olsen said. “We wanted to win that one and get three points, but at this point it’s about building this team, and today was a big step. The team defense was better. The passion was there in the defending, and the offense started clicking.”

After three consecutive defeats, Soehn had no alternative but to shake up his lineup. He did so by benching Moreno, United’s all-time leading goal scorer, and giving Jamaican striker Nicholas Addlery his first start. Previously, Moreno had started all but five of his 241 games for United in 11 seasons.

Moreno knew before the game he was not starting.

“I can’t say [how I feel about that] on TV,” he said. “I’ve nothing to prove. I’m too old. At 18, I had a lot to prove, but now I’m 33.”

Defender Facundo Erpen, who was benched the previous game, was back in the lineup. So was midfielder Clyde Simms after recovering from an ankle injury. Soehn moved Erpen into the center of the midfield between Bobby Boswell and Bryan Namoff, with midfielder Josh Gros basically playing as a fourth defender on the left flank.

The changes seemed to work. United’s defense looked tighter, and the team showed more flair while dominating possession in the first half.

Christian Gomez had United’s best chance before halftime when his dipping shot was tipped over the bar by Matt Reis in the 27th minute. Then Erpen came close with a header on a corner kick by Fred, and Troy Perkins made a good save to stop Taylor Twellman’s header.

Yet there still were some ominous signs. United had trouble getting the ball through the Revolution’s midfield, guarded by imposing Shalrie Joseph, and allowed 6-foot-3 Khano Smith too much room on United’s right flank.

But United fell behind in the first minute after the break. After Moreno came on for Addlery, United’s defense broke down as Joseph passed to Twellman, who beat Erpen but saw his shot saved by Perkins. However, Andy Dorman fired home the rebound.

“We fell asleep there in those first five minutes with them coming out, and that’s something we don’t want to do and need to fix,” Perkins said.

United got a break four minutes later when Moreno was pushed in the box by James Riley and was awarded a penalty kick. The Bolivian converted the shot for his 106th career goal to tie the game. Moreno is just two goals shy of Jason Kreis’ MLS scoring record. Kreis announced his retirement yesterday to become the coach of Real Salt Lake. He replaced Montgomery County native John Ellinger, who was fired.

In the 59th minute, United got another break when Joseph was red-carded for a tackle on Ben Olsen. The Revolution’s midfield showed gaps, and United had a chance to take the lead, but Fred’s shot was blocked by defender Jay Heaps. Despite playing with a one-man advantage for 31 minutes, United had to settle for the tie.

In the frantic dying seconds, Olsen hit the bar with a header, and Luciano Emilio saw his header stopped by a brilliant save from Reis.

“The effort was much better. and we can build on that,” Soehn said. “But there’s no relief with a tie. You are never happy with a tie.”

Guy Kpene made his debut for United in the 79th minute for the injured Fred. In the frantic dying seconds, Olsen hit the bar with a header, and Luciano Emilio’s header was stopped on a brilliant save from Reis.

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