- The Washington Times - Monday, June 30, 2008

As the stifling heat and humidity wore on David Beckham and his Los Angeles teammates, D.C. United’s talented South Americans frustrated the Galaxy on both ends of the field.

The offensive trio of Luciano Emilio, Marcelo Gallardo and Jaime Moreno - dubbed the “Iron Triangle” - combined for four goals, and the oft-criticized defense kept Beckham and Landon Donovan off the scoreboard as United defeated the Galaxy 4-1 on Sunday in front of 35,979 at RFK Stadium.

By the 60-minute mark the Galaxy’s players were walking with their heads down as United had target practice against beleaguered goalie Steve Cronin, who made nine saves.

“It’s a difficult climate for those guys to come into,” United coach Tom Soehn said. “They are not used to humidity and the heat, and it really got to them more than it did us.”

It was clearly the best performance of the year from Soehn’s team; only Edson Buddle’s goal prevented United’s first shutout of the season.

Emilio scored twice to bring his total to 10 on the season and extend his scoring streak to six games - the best in the league.

“For the team, we have great motivation now because the Galaxy are the best team in the Western Conference, and it gives us confidence because we won,” the Brazilian forward said.

With a comfortable lead, Soehn even had the luxury to send in fan-favorite Ben Olsen - who hasn’t played all season because of an ankle injury - to replace Moreno late in the 75th minute.

Even struggling United goalie Zach Wells pulled off three big saves to stop the talented Donovan.

As for Beckham, his first kick in the opening minute left United defender Gonzalo Martinez rolling in agony on the turf as he took the full brunt of the shot in his groin. Martinez recovered to keep a close eye on Beckham and prevented him from putting the ball in scoring position.

“It’s for me to put the ball in the right place and for the players to score,” Beckham said. “It didn’t happen today.”

United fans welcomed Beckham with a giant poster that read, “Shouldn’t you be in Austria?” noting that Beckham’s English team failed to qualify for Euro 2008. Spain beat Germany in Sunday’s final in Vienna, Austria.

United got an early break when Santino Quaranta was pushed down in the box by Ante Jazic and awarded a penalty kick in the fifth minute. Moreno took the penalty kick and converted for his sixth goal of the season and 118th of his career.

“In the first half we played quite well and had the opportunity to be 2-1 up,” Galaxy coach Ruud Gullit said. “The second half, as you saw, the team suffered from the heat, and we were exhausted.”

There was plenty of action to get exhausted from. Both Emilio and Donovan had goals called back because of offside rulings.

The Galaxy were back in the match in the 26th minute when Buddle plowed his way through United’s back line. Defender Gonzalo Peralta couldn’t kick the ball out of the way, and Bryan Namoff fell to the ground, allowing Buddle to score his 10th goal of the year.

Quaranta’s hamstring injury forced Soehn to replace him with former Maryland player Marc Burch in the 27th minute. The midfielder had an immediate impact as he sent a cross to Emilio, who headed the ball past Cronin. Burch later hit the crossbar on a free kick.

Gallardo made it 3-1 with a fine shot from just inside the 18-yard box after Emilio helped control Martinez’s cross. Earlier, Gallardo had bloodied Donovan’s nose but got away with just a yellow card.

“He scored the third goal but should have been off the field,” Gullit said.

Gallardo and Fred then combined on a nice passing sequence to set up Emilio’s second goal of the afternoon.

With the win, United (7-7-1, 22 points) extended its unbeaten streak to six games and moved into third place in the Eastern Conference and back into the playoff picture.

“I wouldn’t say it was a complete game, but it was a good performance,” defender Devon McTavish said.

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