- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 12, 2001


RICHMOND If D.C. United's Chris Albright is on the trading block, he just raised his stock. If goalkeeper Mark Simpson is relegated to backup duty, he made a strong case to be a starter.

Albright scored a goal and added an assist, and Simpson made four incredible saves as United blanked the A-League's Hershey Wildcats 3-0 last night in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup before 5,788 at University of Richmond Stadium.

Albright's assist from the end line set up Jaime Moreno's goal in the 70th minute for a 2-0 lead. Albright, United's much-maligned striker, scored the game's first goal in the 35th minute.

"Hopefully, this is a springboard on to bigger and better things," Albright said.

Simpson has never allowed a goal in U.S. Open Cup play. In his last match, Simpson, 35, blanked the Division III New Jersey Stallions 8-0 in the Cup's second round.

In the 49th minute, however, it looked like Simpson's luck had run out. Hershey midfielder Ze Roberto slipped past central defender Ryan Nelsen and ran straight at Simpson. The goalie came off his line and made a brilliant sliding save to prevent Ze Roberto from scoring from six yards out.

"I was kind of hoping for some kind of whistle, but I didn't get it it hit me square right in the forehead," Simpson said of Ze Roberto's shot. "I tried to be big, be as big as you can and cover as much goal as you can. It also helps to have a little luck on your side."

United's final goal came in the 74th minute when Santino Quaranta, the team's 17-year-old sensation, took a 40-yard ball from Carey Talley and went one-on-one with goalkeeper Jon Busch. Quaranta rolled the ball between Busch's legs to make it 3-0.

It took United 35 minutes to figure out how to crack the Wildcats' staunch defense, doing so on Albright's header for a 1-0 lead. It was Albright's second goal of this tournament, third of the season and the only goal of the first half.

Stephen Armstrong, United's left-flank midfielder, played a ball into space into the left corner for Quaranta to run on. Quaranta took Armstrong's ball and was pushed from behind by Hershey defender Drew Kopp.

Marco Etcheverry's free kick from 30 yards on the left wing curled to the far post, from where Albright beat Busch to his right.

Simpson had to make a spectacular save in the 21st minute to keep Hershey off the scoreboard. Mark Watson, United's central defender, poorly cleared a Wildcats cross into the box. Hershey's Cuban striker, Eduardo Sebrango, was staring at a wide open United net from 10 yards, but Simpson fully extended his body to the left and pushed Sebrango's try wide.

United and the Wildcats had met only once before in a real competition, in the 1997 U.S. Open Cup. United played at Hersheypark and battled to a scoreless draw in regulation before winning the match 3-2 on penalty kicks.

United will play the Richmond Kickers, another A-League affiliate, in the quarterfinals on July 24. A coin flip will be held today to determine the location.

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