- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 9, 2005

Frenchman Youri Djorkaeff, the only player in Major League Soccer to have won a World Cup, destroyed D.C. United’s chances for the Eastern Conference title last night at RFK Stadium.

The 37-year-old veteran’s goal before a crowd of 18,751 gave the MetroStars a 2-1 victory and kept alive their playoffs hopes. Meanwhile, the loss meant United can’t catch the New England Revolution for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Instead, second-place United will play a two-game series with the third-place Chicago Fire in the conference semifinals, tentatively scheduled for Oct.21 and Oct.30, with the first game at the Fire.

Last night’s match was a game United should have won; it outshot the MetroStars 13-7, and goalie Nick Rimando was forced to make just two saves. But a failure to convert chances and sloppy play cut short United’s four-game winning streak.

“I can’t think of one of our players that had a good game,” United coach Peter Nowak said. “If this happens in the playoffs, we better watch out. … That’s a good cold shower for us.”

Argentine forward Sergio Galvan Rey gave the MetroStars the lead in the 17th minute.

Amado Guevara lofted a perfect pass to Rey running into the box. Looking suspiciously offsides, Rey controlled the ball in the air with his right foot and before it bounced slipped it past Rimando with his left foot from eight yards.

United almost tied the game in the 31st minute when Christian Gomez’s free kick deflected off Guevara’s arm and slammed off the post.

MetroStars goalie Tony Meola later pulled off two big saves, stopping shots from Gomez and Facundo Erpen. But United finally tied the game right at halftime when Freddy Adu earned a free kick from 25 yards out after being fouled by Mark Lisi.

Moreno took the dead-ball kick, curling it beautifully into the top corner of the net past Meola for his 15th goal of the season. The Bolivian star is just a goal shy of the league’s leading scorer, the Revolution’s Taylor Twellman, with one game left in the season.

The MetroStars regained the lead against the run of play in the 68th minute, when Djorkaeff met a pass from former Maryland star Seth Stammler and fired the ball low from 14 yards out past Rimando for his 10th goal on the season.

“We haven’t won a big game against a big team all season, so this was very important for us,” said Djorkaeff, who helped France win the World Cup in the 1998 final over Brazil.

The field conditions were difficult at RFK because of the recent rain, and the turf covering the baseball diamond looked cut up. But the new drainage system installed for baseball did a good job, and there was little water on the field.

“We didn’t play with urgency,” United midfielder Dema Kovalenko said. “They wanted this game much more than us.”

United’s last game of the season is at RFK next week against the Columbus Crew.

Notes — Former United striker Earnie Stewart, who is retired and lives in Holland, was awarded his 2004 championship ring before last night’s kickoff. … Lucio Filomeno, the new Argentine forward on United’s roster, did not make his expected debut. Team officials said he was not fully fit and did not want to risk him on the sloppy field. The club has not yet announced the official signing of Filomeno.

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