- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 13, 2004

D.C. United couldn’t beat Major League Soccer’s worst team at home last night, suggesting the league’s most underachieving squad actually might be wearing black and red.

United settled for a scoreless tie with the Colorado Rapids, the third straight game in which United has failed to score. Colorado goalkeeper Joe Cannon made eight saves for his third shutout of the season before 21,742 at RFK Stadium.

“[United] did everything they can to win this game,” coach Peter Nowak said. “You can’t say anything about the effort, work and commitment.”

Except that goals win soccer games. United (3-5-4) lost two important points in the standings and remains near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.

The Rapids’ defense proved much too tough for United’s weak attack to break down. Of United’s eight shots on goal, none forced Cannon to make a spectacular save.

“We pride the team on our defending,” Rapids coach Tim Hankinson said. “D.C. tested us, we survived the game, and we feel good about it.”

Freddy Adu, 15, did not start for the first time in four games for United as Nowak decided a veteran strike force of Ronald Cerritos and Jaime Moreno was the way to go. Adu entered in the 64th minute for Cerritos and didn’t distinguish himself.

United dominated possession in the first half but couldn’t connect on key passes, negating most goal-scoring chances.

Its best opportunity to get on the scoreboard occurred late in the first half.

Displaying his uncanny vision, Moreno crossed back into the box to Cerritos from the end line. Cerritos, United’s highly paid ($162,000) Salvadoran striker, soared in the air and headed Moreno’s service off the crossbar in the 42nd minute.

United rookie goalkeeper Troy Perkins, making his fourth career start, survived some anxious moments seconds before halftime. Perkins was forced to make two excellent saves in succession to keep the Rapids off the scoreboard en route to his second shutout in the past three games.

Colorado defender Antonio de la Torre delivered a perfect corner kick into the middle of the 6-yard box to defender Gary Sullivan. Sullivan tried to volley de la Torre’s cross out of the air with his right foot from six yards, but Perkins deflected Sullivan’s volley with his right hand.

“It was just a reaction,” Perkins said. “The ball was coming across the goal and I made a reaction save.”

The rebound bounced to Colorado forward John Spencer near the left post, and the Scottish striker tried to follow up Sullivan’s volley to the near post. Perkins, who signed a contract as a developmental player and works part-time in a sporting goods store, dived to his right and stopped Spencer’s bid.

Note — Comcast SportsNet was forced to make schedule changes yesterday, canceling planned coverage of the United-Colorado game in favor of the night portion of the Baltimore Orioles-San Francisco Giants doubleheader. The rescheduled game was a result of Friday’s rainout, and Comcast was contractually obligated to show the Orioles.

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