- The Washington Times - Friday, June 17, 2005

After ending its scoring drought with an impressive 4-3 win over the Chicago Fire on Wednesday, D.C. United has some other serious business to clear up — namely handing the New England Revolution a little payback.

The Revolution (7-0-4, 25 points), the only unbeaten team in Major League Soccer, has tagged United with two losses this season: 4-3 at RFK in April and 1-0 at Gillette Stadium last month. New England apparently has not forgotten that United knocked it out of the playoffs last year in a dramatic penalty shootout following a 3-3 tie at RFK Stadium.

“In the two games we have played them this year, we felt like we had the better of the game both times, but we got the short end of the stick,” United forward Alecko Eskandarian said. “This is going to be a big game for us. We want to send a message to the rest of the league, and obviously we owe them some payback.”

No team has been able to stop the unbeaten Revolution this year, even when three of the club’s key players — Pat Noonan, Clint Dempsey and Steve Ralston — missed key games for U.S. national team duty. But after the big win over Chicago, United feels it’s up to the task.

“Last year was last year, but this season the Revolution has had our number, so we’ve got to go out there and get three points [for winning], especially at home,” said Nick Rimando, who won his 30th career game for United on Wednesday, passing Tom Presthus for the team mark.

If United’s offense can continue scoring and the backline tightens up, the Revolution, who lead the Eastern Conference comfortably, may have more of a problem tonight.

“Finally, our offense is clicking,” midfielder Josh Gros said. “We played them twice, and they beat us twice, so we definitely owe them.”

A win today certainly would give United (4-4-4, 16 points) a more comfortable position in its conference. And if Eskandarian, who has been playing well, can notch his first goal of the season, things really would be rolling for the defending MLS champions.

Former Maryland star Taylor Twellman, who leads the Revolution in scoring with six goals and three assists, will miss the game with a hamstring injury. Talented midfielder and captain Shalrie Joseph is listed as probable with a broken nose.

What price glory? — Some D.C. United fans apparently were outraged that the club’s exhibition game against English Premier League Champion Chelsea will be played at FedEx Field rather than RFK Stadium on July 28. Tickets will range from $35 to $120, which some soccer-minded bloggers consider much too high. Tickets for games at RFK this year range from $16 to $40.

Still, you can’t see a club as big as Chelsea play every day, and no one wants to see star Frank Lampard tear up his knee on one of those grass seams covering the baseball diamond at RFK.

Corner kicks — Germany plays Norway tomorrow in Blackburn, England, in the final of the European Championship at 10 a.m. The game will be shown live on Fox Soccer Channel. … Freddy Adu and the U.S. under-20 team need just a tie against Egypt today in Enschede, Netherlands, to advance to the knockout phase of the world youth championship. The game will be shown live on Fox Soccer Channel at 7:30 a.m.


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