- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 29, 2000


D.C. United's recovering process is still on hold.

Missing four starters due to injury and national team commitments, United faced a top-notch Major League Soccer team shorthanded and it proved costly.

Sloppy play in United's midfield led to turnovers, which led to Los Angeles Galaxy goals.

Galaxy midfielder Cobi Jones scored the go-ahead goal in the 62nd minute as the Galaxy remained perfect on the season against United with a come-from-behind 2-1 victory before 17,486 at RFK Stadium.

Without playmaker Marco Etcheverry and forward Jaime Moreno because of Bolivian World Cup qualifier last night in Venezuela, United didn't display its usual sure possession. As a result, the Galaxy capitalized on United's midfield of 17-year-old Bobby Convey, Eric Denton, Chris Albright and marking midfielder Geoff Aunger and Richie Williams.

On Jones' goal, United lost possession in the Galaxy's third of the field and Galaxy midfielder Mauricio Cienfuegos played a 40-yard ball to Jones streaking down the left flank. Jones raced with the ball from the midfield stripe to United's goal. As he penetrated inside the 18-yard box, Jones spun United left back Jeff Agoos completely around and beat Eddie Pope. Jones got off a badly struck ball with his left foot that beat United goalkeeper Tom Presthus to the left post. Jones' goal was his first goal since April 1 and his team-leading fifth of the season.

"Once again, it was a bad turnover on a counterattack," Pope said of Jones' goal.

United coach Thomas Rongen couldn't have agreed more.

"We talked at halftime on the little things that would make the difference keeping possession, making sure our balance was right when we bring numbers forward," Rongen said. "We felt with our mistakes on the counter was the only way they were going to score."

Besides Moreno and Etcheverry, United was missing injured midfielder Ben Olsen (ankle) and defender Carlos Llamosa (knee).

United got its only goal in the 14th minute. Carey Talley tied Chris Albright as United's third-leading scorer with his third goal of the year. Left back Jeff Agoos perfectly bent a 25-yard free kick into the middle of the 18-yard box. Agoos' kick appeared to deflect off United forward Raul Diaz Arce and Galaxy midfielder Sasha Victorine.

While falling backward near the penalty spot, Talley was able to get his right foot on the bouncing ball. When Talley struck the ball, the ball took a short hop and sailed under the crossbar and over Galaxy goalkeeper Kevin Hartman to give United an early 1-0 lead.

Thirteen minutes later, a defensive breakdown by United (4-11-4) allowed the Galaxy right back into the game. Making matters worse, United gave unknown Galaxy midfielder Sebastien Vorbe his first MLS points. In only his third start of the season, Vorbe burned United central defender Eddie Pope for his first MLS goal.

Jones triggered the Galaxy's counterattack playing a 15-yard ball from the left back into the middle of the field to Vorbe. Vorbe did the rest, racing raced past Pope into the right side of the 18-yard box. With his left foot, Vorbe struck a roller that beat United goalkeeper Tom Presthus, who came off his line, to the far post. Vorbe's goal in the 27th minute tied the game 1-1.

"Vorbe was wide open," Pope said. "It wasn't a particularly good shot. It was another bad turnover."

A Talley header in the 84th minute nearly tied the game. Jones dropped back onto the Galaxy's goal line and headed Talley's ball into the crossbar and cleared it off the goal line.

Last time the Galaxy (8-4-7) invaded East Capitol Street, the Galaxy inflicted a 4-0 drubbing on United in its season opener United's worst loss so far this season. On May 20 at the Rose Bowl, United played much better against the Galaxy, but still lost 2-1 in Mexican superstar Luis Hernandez's MLS debut before 40,303.

That's about the only hoopla that has surrounded Hernandez this season. Hernandez has gone scoreless for the Galaxy since being being allocated by the league to them on May 11. Hernandez, whose nickname is "El Matador," joins a long list of big name international stars that the league foolishly signs for millions and who ultimately do nothing in the fledgling domestic league.

Prior to Hernandez's arrival, the Galaxy were undefeated at 5-0-5. Since the Mexican goal-scoring legend relocated to Southern California, the Galaxy have gone 2-4-2, not counting last night's game.

Hernandez had only one real good chance in this game. Midway through the second half, Hernandez beat Pope the only time in the game Hernandez was able to do so back to the middle of the field along the 18-yard line. With his right foot, Hernandez was able to get off a rocket that Presthus made a diving save on.

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