- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 9, 2006

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Alecko Eskandarian scored his sixth goal of the season before being ejected last night, and D.C. United extended its winning streak to five games with a 1-0 victory over the Columbus Crew.

Eskandarian scored on a free kick from 28 yards that threaded through a gap in the Columbus defensive wall and flew past goalkeeper Noah Palmer in the 43rd minute. He was then given a red card by referee Mauricio Navarro for bowling over Marcos Gonzalez as the defender prepared to take a free kick in the 65th minute.

Despite finishing the game with a man advantage following Eskandarian’s dismissal, Columbus (4-7-6) was unable to score and had its run of four straight ties ended. Columbus trails United by 23 points in the Eastern Conference.

United (12-1-5), which has the best record in MLS, is unbeaten in 12 games but had to battle through a testy match that featured five yellow cards.

Columbus nearly grabbed the lead in the second minute, but Joseph Ngwenya’s apparent goal was called back after he was ruled offsides.

Ten minutes later, United forward Jaime Moreno finished a long run with a pass to Eskandarian inside the penalty area. Palmer, the former Maryland player, ran out to knock the ball from Eskandarian’s foot, but the ball was scooped up by United’s Ben Olsen, who ripped a shot that was cleared off the goal line by Ezra Hendrickson.

United defender Facundo Erpen fired a shot from 30 yards that caromed off the crossbar in the 34th minute.

Crew striker Jacob Thomas beat United goalkeeper Troy Perkins with a low, hard shot in the 39th minute, but the ball rolled just to the left of the goal.

Thomas also missed the game’s final shot, a 12-yard strike that Perkins scooped up seconds before Navarro whistled the end of the game.

Gonzalez and Olsen each were shown yellow cards for their run-in near the scorer’s table in the 21st minute. Gonzalez will miss the Crew’s next game and be fined $250 because of his accumulation of yellow cards.

Navarro also gave yellow cards to the Crew’s Jose Retiz and Leonard Bisaku before halftime. United’s Bobby Boswell was shown a yellow card two minutes into the second half.

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