- The Washington Times - Friday, May 13, 2005

Once upon a time, D.C. United possessed the so-called “Magic Triangle,” the triple offensive threat of Raul Diaz Arce, Jaime Moreno and Marco Etcheverry. The trio combined for 39 goals and 30 assists over 37 games in 1997 as United won its second Major League Soccer title.

Now it appears a new attacking trio has emerged, and United will come face-to-face with it today at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass.

Welcome to the New England Revolution’s “Iron Triangle” of Clint Dempsey, Pat Noonan and Taylor Twellman — a swashbuckling offensive monster capable of tearing up any defense in MLS. The three have combined for 12 goals and seven assists in just six games for the unbeaten Revolution.

Dempsey, an explosive and carefree midfielder from Nacogdoches, Texas, is tied for the league lead with five goals and has assisted on four others.

Former University of Maryland star Twellman (three goals, three assists) plays like a bull, while the flexible Noonan (four goals) is known for tight cuts and turns on the ball that can embarrass defenders. The Revolution lead MLS in scoring with an average of 2.5 a game.

“It’s not just those three, but it’s also [Steve] Ralston,” said United midfielder Josh Gros, who today will have to track MLS’ iron man. Ralston, a multifaceted defensive midfielder, is the all-time league leader in minutes played (23,341) and talented at feeding his forward line dangerous crosses.

The Revolution swaggered into RFK last month and roughed up United 4-3 in the kind of helter-skelter match that is becoming the norm when these two clubs play. The last two meetings produced a whopping 13 goals and some delightful end-to-end soccer.

The question is can United stifle the Revolution’s momentum?

“No one has stopped this team so far, but we know what to expect,” Gros said. “We played them well last time.”

Expect more fireworks today.

Los Angeles loves Galaxy — For now, it’s clear who the favorite team is at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., where the Los Angeles Galaxy and the expansion Chivas USA share the stadium. Chivas drew 10,893 to the venue for its first win of the season, a 1-0 result over Real Salt Lake last Saturday. The following day, the Galaxy pulled in 20,104 for a 3-2 win over Colorado.

Big bucks in Europe — Blessed are the rich, for they will win championships. Chelsea was presented the English Championship trophy last week — its first since 1955 — but the title came with a hefty price tag of around $1.3 billion.

And the generosity has all come from Russian oil baron Roman Abramovich, listed as that nation’s richest person ($13.3 billion). Abramovich, 38, purchased the Chelsea team in July 2003 for $193 million, then spent $406.2 million for players. He forked over more than $410 million in wages and gave the club a $219 million interest-free loan.

According to England’s BBC Web site, in the 670 days between the Russian’s takeover of the London club and its winning the title, Abramovich spent an average of $1.9 million a day on the team. That’s a little more than the yearly salary cap ($1.7 million) of an MLS team.

Here are the players Chelsea has purchased since Abramovich’s arrival: Didier Drogba, $45.7 million; Ricardo Carvalho, $37.9M; Damien Duff, $32.4M; Hernan Crespo, $32M; Claude Makelele, $31.6M; Adrian Mutu, $30.1M; Juan Sebastian Veron, $28.6M; Paulo Ferreira, $25.1M; Arjen Robben, $22.8M; Scott Parker, $19M; Tiago, $15.2M; Wayne Bridge, $13.3M; Petr Cech, $13.3M; Geremi, $13.3M; Joe Cole, $12.5M; Glen Johnson, $11.4M; Mateja Kezman, $9.5M; Alexei Smertin, $6.5M; and Jiri Jarosik, an estimated $5.7M.

Ironically, the two players who had the biggest impact on the team, John Terry and Frank Lampard, were there before Abramovich arrived.

Corner kicks — Three clubs will drop out of the English Premier League tomorrow and lose millions of dollars in TV revenue. Four teams are in danger of being among them.

Crystal Palace (32 points) plays at Charlton, Norwich (33) visits Fulham, Southampton (32) is home to Manchester United and West Bromwich (31) welcomes Portsmouth. Norwich is the only team with its fate in its own hands, and Southampton is the only team out of the four that was not promoted from the lower division last season. …

According to Sports Illustrated for Kids, Freddy Adu, who just renewed his endorsement deal with Pepsi through 2007, wants to buy an Audi A6 when he can get his driver’s license June2.

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