- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 5, 2002

D.C. United decided to go with a young lineup and was subsequently burned by the Chicago Fire.
Ante Razov scored a goal and added an assist as the Fire shut out United 3-0 before 11,767 last night at RFK Stadium, the second consecutive game and third of the season that United (2-5) has failed to score a goal. It was United's first home loss of the season.
Who would have thought former strikers Chris Albright and A.J. Wood would be desirable now? This was the worst home loss since last July 7 when the Los Angeles Galaxy blanked United 3-0.
"All I need is a cigarette and a blindfold," United coach Ray Hudson said of his team's performance. "These promising players, these sweet little footballers, aren't going to get it done."
Leading 1-0, the Fire (3-2-1) scored two second-half goals and put United out of its misery. Fire captain Peter Nowak shredded United's midfield by dribbling from the center circle unimpeded through United's defense and unloaded a 25-yard rocket that beat United goalkeeper Nick Rimando to the right post and made it 2-0.
Nowak ran 35 yards untouched through the heart of United's side and scored his second goal of the season.
"It was not a great game for any of the midfielders," Hudson said.
A handball call on United midfielder Lazo Alavanja put the game out of reach. Referee Ricardo Valenzuela awarded the Fire a penalty kick. Razov beat Rimando to the left post that made it 3-0.
United forward Jaime Moreno made his first start of the season recovering from offseason knee surgery. Despite not being match fit, Moreno played well and showed glimpses of his immense talent. Moreno played 66 minutes before Hudson substituted Ali Curtis for Moreno.
Injuries, suspensions and national team duty depleted both teams rosters. United was missing playmaker Marco Etcheverry (accumulation of yellow cards), defender Ivan McKinley (red card), defender Eddie Pope (national team) and Ben Olsen (ankle), forcing Hudson to start Ryan Nelsen, Mark Lisi and Jose "Chino" Alegria.
Meanwhile, the Fire was without forward Josh Wolff, midfielder Chris Armas, and midfielder DaMarcus Beasley, who are all with the national team.
"We believe we have good young players, both teams are in the same boat," Fire coach Bob Bradley said."
For the first 25 minutes, United had the better of the play that is until the Fire scored the match's first goal in the 26th minute to take an early 1-0 lead. The Fire's goal started innocently enough with a goalkick from Zach Thornton, but then Chicago's skill in the air took over.
Thornton placed the ball just inside United's half where rookie midfielder Kelly Gray backheaded the ball to Razov from the center circle. Then, Razov, who was just outside the 18-yard box, flicked the ball to the right flank into the path of Sergi Daniv.
Daniv collected Razov's ball just inside the 18-yard box with no United defenders around him and one-timed it past Rimando, who came off his line, from 17 yards out.
The goal was Daniv's first of the season. Razov picked up his third assist of the season and Gray earned his first assist of the season.
"Next week becomes a must-win game, because if we don't take this on [Columbus] then we're really going to slip drastically," Hudson said.


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