- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 4, 2008

It’s no surprise D.C. United’s recent improvement coincided with the end of Luciano Emilio’s scoring drought.

United (3-7-1, 10 points) is unbeaten in two games after a four-game losing streak. Emilio scored in both after netting just one goal in United’s first nine MLS games and leads the team in shots on goal with 14.

Last season, he scored a league-high 20 goals in 29 games and earned league MVP honors.

“Any time you score a goal, you gain confidence, and I hope I can keep this scoring streak going,” Emilio said through a translator.

The Brazilian striker will get a chance to extend his scoring streak against the two-time defending MLS champion Houston Dynamo (3-3-5, 14 points) tonight at RFK Stadium.

“You guys evaluate everything on him scoring goals, while we evaluate him on all the little things he’s doing,” United coach Tom Soehn said.

Soehn benched Emilio for the Chivas USA game May 17. While Emilio didn’t score in the following game, he did score goals in a 3-2 win over Toronto FC at RFK and in a 2-2 tie at New England last week.

Both came after he pounced on rebounds.

“I’ve always been characterized as being instinctive in the box and good at getting rebounds,” Emilio said.

Said midfielder Clyde Simms: “Emilio is not a flashy player who is going to beat you one-on-one, but he has that instinct in the box.”

This is Houston’s first trip to RFK since beating the New England Revolution in the MLS Cup last season. With a win, United will move out of last place in the Eastern Conference.

Meanwhile, former United defender Bobby Boswell returns to RFK for his first game against his old team since he was traded to Houston at the end of last season.

Boswell spent three seasons with United, winning the 2006 defender of the year award. He is best remembered for his goal in a 2-1 loss against Premier League club Chelsea in an exhibition game in 2005.

“He was always a fan favorite,” Soehn said.

Boswell has played every minute of all 11 games this season, scoring one goal. The 6-foot-2 defender is good in the air, especially on crosses from corner kicks.

“He’s someone that has to be marked on set-pieces …” United defender Bryan Namoff said. “You have to put on your game face. You’ve joked around with them off the field for a couple of years, so it’s a challenge. If we get the win, it will be nice for a bit of trash talking after the game.”

The Dynamo will be without defender Eddie Robinson, who was suspended for one game and fined $500 for retaliatory actions against FC Dallas midfielder Andre Rocha last week.