- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 22, 2005

D.C. United coach Peter Nowak has been giving talented Christian Gomez more playing time this season. The Argentine midfielder rewarded Nowak with two goals set up by Jaime Moreno and Freddy Adu last night as United downed the stubborn Kansas City Wizards 3-2 before 18,731 at RFK Stadium.

“The last couple of games I have had more minutes,” said Gomez through a translator. “[Nowak] told me to play more offensive with Jaime and [Alecko Eskandarian] so I have to repay him, and tonight was that night.”

The Wizards (2-2-3, 9 points) came close to taking the lead in the sixth minute but United goalie Nick Rimando blocked Davy Arnaud’s close-range effort. Gradually, United (3-3-2, 11 points) gained the upper hand in a cautiously played game by both teams.

Moreno nearly earned a penalty kick in the 11th minute when it looked as if he was pushed off the ball. But in the 29th minute United’s luck changed. Eskandarian was brought to the ground by Wizards defender Jose Burciaga as he ran onto Moreno’s pass in the 18-yard box, and referee Gus St. Silva showed no hesitation as he pointed straight to the penalty spot.

Moreno took the spot kick, hammering the ball high in the net to the right side of helpless Wizards goalie Bo Oshoniyi. The goal was Moreno’s fourth of the season and third on a penalty kick.

Rimando, who was solid for most of the game except for an early slip, kept United in front when he made a fine diving save to stop Sasha Victorine’s powerful low drive from 13 yards out in the 43rd minute.

After the break United started in lively fashion with Moreno forcing Oshoniyi to make a big save.

But the Wizards tied the game when Chris Klein’s powerful shot from the right flank was redirected into United’s goal by rookie defender Bobby Boswell’s shin as he attempted to clear the ball.

After the own goal, United scored a well-tailored goal in the 69th minute to regain the lead. Eskandarian floated a lovely cross into the box for Moreno, who headed it to the onrushing Gomez. Gomez tumbled over a defender but managed to slide the ball into the net.

“I needed to score tonight,” Gomez said. “I haven’t scored since the Chivas game [United’s 2-0 win in its season opener]. I scored two goals so it was a big morale boost for me.”

All evening, United defensive midfielders Brian Carroll and Clyde Simms thwarted the Wizards’ attack, while flank players Ben Olsen and Josh Gros kept the Wizards’ defense busy. Simms continues to impress with his hard work and crisp passing, justifying why national team coach Bruce Arena, watching from United’s director’s box, has called him into camp for Saturday’s match against England.

Fifteen-year-old Adu entered the game in the 77th minute replacing Eskandarian, while Kansas City sent on the 41-year-old Preki. Three minutes later, Adu tore at the Wizards’ defense on a delightful run, beating two defenders and sending a perfect pass to the waiting Gomez. The midfielder ditched his defender with a tight turn and shot past Oshoniyi to make it 3-1.

“It just shows to everybody [Adu] belongs out there,” Nowak said of the play.

Gomez nearly got his third goal on the night after a strong run just before Nowak rested him with three minutes left, but his shot sailed high.

“If I had scored that it would have been wonderful because I’ve never scored a hat trick,” Gomez said.

United’s Rimando was solid in net for most of the game except for an error in the 88th minute, when he completely missed an easy ball, allowing Scott Sealy to cut the margin to 3-2. But United held on to earn its second home victory of the season.

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