- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 14, 2008

Last week’s win at the Chicago Fire could be the season-changer for D.C. United. But it came at a price.

Midfielder Marcelo Gallardo and veteran defender Bryan Namoff were both red-carded, which means they are suspended for Saturday’s clash against the New York Red Bulls at RFK Stadium.

United coach Tom Soehn will have to make key changes to his starting lineup, especially in replacing Gallardo, who has started in 10 of the team’s 12 games and scored three goals.

“We lose a guy that orchestrates a lot of the offense, so everybody has to pick up and take on more,” Soehn said.

Soehn has numerous options:

cForward Jaime Moreno has taken on United’s playmaking duties in the past.

cMidfielder Fred - traditionally a central midfielder - could move into the middle and be replaced on the left flank by rookie midfielder Ryan Cordeiro.

cMidfielder Rod Dyachenko could also replace Gallardo.

With Moreno playing so well alongside in-form striker Luciano Emilio - the two have combined for nine of United’s 17 goals - and Fred playing well on the flanks, Soehn might opt for Dyachenko.

“It changes a lot of things,” midfielder Santino Quaranta said. “There’s always a way out with Marcelo. You know that if you give the ball to him, when he’s in trouble he gets out of those little places. With Rod [Dyachenko] it’s a little different. We just have to figure out a way to play simple and to find our forwards quicker because Marcelo always had a way out. By not having him in there, we have to find Jaime and guys who can hold the ball.”

Quaranta will face the Red Bulls for the first time since the team waived him - and his $100,000 salary - in January.

“New York were in a situation where they did the right thing in my case - with the money,” said Quaranta, who earns $35,000 now at United. “I wasn’t going to fit into their plans. I’m sure they are second-guessing it the way I am playing.”

As for replacing Namoff, who has played in all but two minutes this season, Soehn likely will bring in Marc Burch to play the left-back role.

United (4-7-1, 13 points) is unbeaten in its last three games. The 2-1 win at Chicago was the club’s first road win in 13 attempts, dating to Sept. 1.

Meantime, the Red Bulls (4-3-3, 15 points) are faced with some key decisions.

Striker Juan Pablo Angel and midfielder Claudio Reyna are struggling with injures and there are reports that they likely will sit out the game. MLS also recently sold phenom Jozy Altidore to Spanish club Villarreal for a transfer fee of $10 million.

“They have been a very blue-collar team this year,” Soehn said. “To their credit, if you take away the Chicago game [a 5-1 loss], they haven’t let in a lot of goals.”

After earning that elusive road win, the next challenge for United is to get back into the playoff picture and earn its first shutout. United is two wins back from a playoff spot and 13 points behind the conference-leading New England Revolution.

Peace Queen Cup - The U.S. women’s team will defend its title at the biennial Peace Queen Cup in Suwon, South Korea. The top-ranked Americans begin play Sunday in Group B against Australia.

They play Brazil and Italy later in the week. In Group A, South Korea plays Argentina, Canada and New Zealand, which was a late replacement for North Korea. The two group winners will play in the final on June 21 at Suwon World Cup Stadium.

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