- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 16, 2001


D.C. United's latest uninspired performance might have sealed its postseason fate.
Eight points out of the eighth and final playoff spot, United dropped a crucial home match to the New York/New Jersey MetroStars 2-1 last night when Rodrigo Faria scored a goal and added an assist before 11,618 at RFK Stadium.
United has six games left four at RFK in what has turned out to be a disappointing (6-14-2) season. Based on last night, it appears United will miss the MLS playoffs for the second straight season.
United has gone more than a month without recording a league victory, since July 14, when it defeated the host New England Revolution. In other competitions, United has fared much better. The team qualified for next year's CONCACAF's Champions Cup by being a finalist in the inaugural Giants Cup two weeks ago in Los Angeles.
United also advanced to the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup the oldest soccer competition in this country and will visit the Revolution on Wednesday. But for reasons unknown, United can't get it going in MLS play.
"This team has shown very strong signs of tremendous desire to take this challenge, the playoff challenge, head on," coach Thomas Rongen said.
United outshot the MetroStars 21-3 but had only one goal to show for it. In the first half, United seemed to be running in place. The team lacked organization and failed to put passes together. Subsequently, United showed little imagination in its attack. United has scored just one goal in its last three matches.
An Aug. 9 trade with the Colorado Rapids for veteran midfielder Ross Paule paid off for the MetroStars in the 10th minute. Paule, who was acquired by the MetroStars for defender Steve Shak and a second-round draft pick, scored the MetroStars' first goal when he won a ball inside the midfield circle and perfectly played it to forward Petter Villegas streaking down the right side.
Villegas took Paule's ball all the way to the touchline, where he toyed with United left back Brian Kamler and pulled the ball back into the box. The unmarked Faria put away Villegas' pass from the top of the 6-yard box with a blast high into the net. Faria has three goals and two assists in four games this season against United.
"This is going to sound redundant to everybody out there, but I still think we have a good team," Kamler said. "I think everybody is looking for answers as far as what we can do to turn this thing around. I think everybody is in wonder right now. It's just disappointing."
Poor United defending and a questionable no-call by a referee's assistant led to a second goal for the MetroStars (11-8-3). Faria played his ball from the midfield stripe across the field to midfielder Mark Chung, who was coming down the left side. Replays showed Chung was offside by at least five yards, but no flag was raised.
Chung, who is the first cousin of United rookie defender Craig Ziadie, took Faria's ball to the left edge of the 6-yard box. Chung pulled the ball inside with his left foot, leaving United defender Scott Vermillion in the dust. With his right foot, Chung beat United goalkeeper Mike Ammann to the near post from the top of the 6-yard box to make it 2-0.
"I think Scotty could have done better on Mark Chung in those one-versus-one situations," Rongen said.
United scored its lone goal in the 87th minute when rookie Mark Lisi got his second of the season. Marco Etcheverry, United's central playmaker, crossed into the box from the right wing. Etcheverry's cross missed Santino Quaranta, United's 16-year-old forward, at the top of the 6-yard box.
But MetroStars defender Pedro Alvarez poorly cleared Etcheverry's cross. Alvarez tried to poke the ball back out, but wasn't able to get a good strike on the ball. Cutting between two MetroStars defenders, Lisi drilled the ball into the net to make it 2-1.

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