- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 2, 2001


The 35,000 or so Honduran fans who left RFK Stadium after yesterday morning's World Cup qual1ifier missed one of D.C. United's better performances of the season.

United's Major League Soccer playoff hopes may have slipped away, but the club showed those who decided to stick around that it has the ability to play attractive soccer when its players put their minds to it.

Abdul Thompson Conteh scored two goals, Jaime Moreno scored a goal and added two assists and Bobby Convey registered two assists as United pounded the Tampa Bay Mutiny 5-1 in the second game of a doubleheader with the U.S. national team.

The win was one of United's (8-15-2, 26 points) most lopsided of the season. On May 9, United beat the New England Revolution 5-0 at RFK and on June 27 beat the Division III New Jersey Stallions 8-0 in a first-round U.S. Open Cup match at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown.

"We continue to stress good football, and our record doesn't reflect that," United coach Thomas Rongen said. "The crowds on the road and at home understand and continue to understand that this is a pretty exciting team to watch."

This is the first time since mid-June that United has won back-to-back league matches.

With three games left in its sixth season, United is virtually playing for pride. The team is mathematically alive for the eighth and final playoff spot but needs to win its final three matches and hope that a lot of bad things happen to other teams. With the win, United is six points behind the Kansas City Wizards for the final spot. The Wizards played at San Jose late last night.

"We're all professionals. We're not going to stroll out there and let a team beat us," rookie midfielder Mark Lisi said. "We're still fighting for our jobs next year. Mathematically we're not out, but realistically we might be."

Conteh scored the game's first goal in the 27th minute on a beautiful through ball from Moreno. Moreno, who was at the edge of the center circle, played a 25-yard ball through two Mutiny defenders to the streaking Conteh at the top of the box. Conteh dribbled left around Mutiny goalkeeper Adin Brown and rolled the ball in from six yards out.

In the 39th minute, Moreno made it 2-0 on sheer determination. Moreno stole an errant Mutiny pass on the right flank, dribbled the ball through four defenders and, once he neared the penalty spot, sent a right-footed blast to the right corner.

Moreno triggered another goal in the 47th minute that made it 3-0. Convey, who played a central midfield role because of a injury to playmaker Marco Etcheverry, headed the ball in to Moreno. In one motion, Moreno flicked the ball to Convey with the right side of his foot. Convey took a shot from the top of the 6-yard box that Brown snuffed. The rebound came back out to Lisi, who shot it inside the left post from eight yards for his third goal of the season.

"We're playing good soccer now, and we hope this translates to next season," Conteh said. "That's what we're working for right now. Now I understand Jaime a lot. Me and Jaime didn't work well together at the beginning of the season. The past five goals I've scored, four of them have come from him."

Conteh's 14th goal of the season came from rookie midfielder Bryan Namoff. Namoff chipped the ball to Conteh inside the penalty area. From 12 yards on the left flank, Conteh drilled the ball to the far post to give United a 4-0 lead in the 49th minute.

The Mutiny (4-20-2) scored their only goal of the game in the 61st minute when Jair connected from the top of the box. United midfielder Jose Alegria scored his first MLS goal in the 71st minute when defender Carey Talley played a long ball down the right flank and Alegria dribbled inside the box and scored from about 12 yards.

Note United called up goalkeeper Ronnie Pascale from the Richmond Kickers, United's A-League affiliate. Pascale's services are required because starting goalkeeper Mike Ammann is out for the rest of the season with ulnar irritation in both elbows. Ammann underwent successful surgery Thursday.

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