- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 13, 2002

D.C. United coach Ray Hudson preaches attacking soccer, the kind D.C. United has played throughout its seven-year history. So it is a mystery why this season United has scored the fewest goals in Major League Soccer and shows attacking soccer briefly.

United is last in the 10-team league in goals scored (18), assists (23) and shots (183). At 6-8-1, United be sitting home watching the MLS playoffs for the third straight season because of its inability to score. That would be embarrassing since eight of the league's 10 teams qualify for the postseason.

To make matters worse, Santino Quaranta, United's leading scorer with three goals and four assists (10 points), will be out the next two to three weeks with a groin strain.

"That's a sad setback for me personally," Hudson said. "For me, [Quarantas injury] has been one of the worst parts of this season. Jaime [Moreno] we knew would take awhile in coming back from his injury, but Santino, with all that promise of youth and all that stuff he was developing, now he's out for another couple of weeks and screws it up. It's a shame."

A lack of continuity on United's forward line has plagued the club all season. Moreno, United's all-time leading goal scorer (69) and points producer (188), missed the first four games recovering from offseason knee surgery and has appeared in eight games.

United's dream strike force of Moreno and Quaranta has started five matches, and United has gone 3-1-1.

"We're trying [to score goals], but we've been unfortunate that we've had so many injuries and we hadn't been able to play the full squad in one game," Moreno said. "As far as I'm concerned, we always try to play good soccer and not just going forward."

At RFK Stadium, United plays good soccer. Outside RFK, the club is road kill. United has scored 15 of its 18 goals at home and has gone 6-1-1, second-best home record in the league. On the road, United is 0-7, the worst road mark in the league.

In what can be described as a marketing ploy, United invited 19-year-old Salvadoran striker Eliseo Quintanilla for a two-day training session that ended yesterday. United's interest in the 5-foot-6, 140-pounder may be aimed at reviving a slumping gate, especially considering Washington's large Salvadoran community. The team appears oblivious to Quintanilla's minuscule stature.

Quintanilla is just the latest forward to audition for a job with United. All season United has rolled in potential goal scorers for tryouts the club came close to luring Paul Dalglish, the son of Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish, to MLS in April, but the negotiations broke down. Before Dalglish, United brought in a pair of Brazilians for a look.

Still, United has nothing to show for its never-ending search for a goal scorer. On June 18, United picked aging forward Roy Lassiter off waivers from the Kansas City Wizards. In four games since being claimed, Lassiter has two shots on goal.

Besides United's forwards, the club's flank midfield play has not provided service into the box. Maybe it's a trickle-down effect starting in the midfield.

"We definitely can get some better service from Bobby [Convey] and Petter [Villegas]," midfielder Richie Williams said. "At time when we do get service, we've been dangerous. Petter tends to come inside a little bit, and so does Bobby, so at times they need to stay a little bit wider, get the ball, get it down and serve the ball in the box for guys to run on."


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