- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 6, 2007

A new formation on the field and a new attitude in the locker room has D.C. United poised to gain its first win of the season today against Chivas USA at RFK Stadium.

After earning its first point of the 2007 campaign with a 1-1 tie against the New England Revolution on Thursday night, United’s confidence seems to have been restored.

“I expect our guys to build on the kind of passion and intensity we had [against New England] and make it harder [for Chivas] to play against us,” United coach Tom Soehn said. “When you are passionate and fighting you cause your opponent to create mistakes. We forced New England to make mistakes but unfortunately we didn’t capitalize on some. Over time if you keep that mentality, the results will come.”

A result is certainly needed against Chivas (2-2). United (0-3-1) has squandered 11 of a possible 12 points in four games, and while Chivas has been beaten in all four meetings by United, the California club looks sharper this year. A loss today certainly would be United’s worst start ever — points-wise — after five games.

“We have to win,” midfielder Josh Gros said. “We have no choice. We can’t let teams get too far ahead.”

Soehn made three personnel changes in his lineup against the Revolution and went with four defenders, using Gros as a left-back next to Bobby Boswell, Facundo Erpen and Bryan Namoff. The changes had a positive effect.

The talented but sometimes erratic Erpen looked more comfortable in the middle next to Boswell and United was able to win possessions farther up the field, allowing Namoff and Gros the freedom to move forward.

“Because of how well it worked, I’m sure we will continue to do it,” Boswell said.

The move also cut down the opponents’ play on the flanks.

“Four in the back certainly gives you more cover,” Namoff said.

In the midfield, the diamond shape of Ben Olsen, Clyde Simms, Fred and Christian Gomez seemed to work behind the two strikers, and for the first time in league play this year dominated possession.

“We looked like ourselves again,” said Carroll, who replaced Simms in the game.

Fred came off injured against the Revolution with a groin injury and although he is listed as probable, he likely will not play today.

Whether Soehn benches forward Jaime Moreno again remains to be seen. Newcomer Nicholas Addlery made his first start in place of Moreno against the Revolution, but Soehn, while happy with Addlery’s contribution, felt the Jamaican forward looked a little nervous. The coach now also has forward Guy Kpene, who made an impressive debut coming off the bench against the Revolution, as an option to play next to striker Luciano Emilio.

Moreno, who replaced Addlery in the second half and scored the tying goal on a penalty kick, looked lively in training on Friday. While the Bolivian said after the Revolution game that not much motivates him anymore at age 33, recent events might help him to play with more passion. Jason Kreis, the league’s all-time leader in goals scored with 108, retired this week to take on the coaching job at Real Sat Lake. Moreno has 106 career goals.

Meantime, Chivas will be without midfielder Amado Guevara, who left the club on Wednesday after disagreements with first-year coach Preki. Guevara was the team’s high-profile acquisition in the preseason and the club’s highest paid player. However, Chivas will have available Brazilian midfielder Paulo Nagamura, obtained in a trade with Toronto FC on Friday.

Chivas, is spearheaded by Cuban star Maykel Galindo and Ante Razov, who both have two goals this season. Razov is just six goals behind Moreno on the all-time scoring list.

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