- The Washington Times - Monday, June 12, 2006

CARSON, Calif. — Given the teams’ respective records and statistics, a game between D.C. United and the Los Angeles Galaxy figured to be anything but a close, hard-fought one.

United has scored the most goals in Major League Soccer and allowed the fewest while compiling the league’s best record. The Galaxy have recorded polar opposites in all three categories.

But last night at Home Depot Center, it was much closer than anticipated. Los Angeles’ Cobi Jones — who missed the previous three games with a sprained right foot — scored in the 88th minute, salvaging a 1-1 tie in front of 17,538 to end a team-record seven-game losing streak.

Los Angeles (2-9-2) was playing its second game under new coach Frank Yallop, who replaced Steve Sampson on Wednesday.

United (7-1-4) extended its undefeated streak to six games and widened its lead in the Eastern Conference to eight points over Kansas City.

Christian Gomez gave United a 1-0 lead in the 21st minute. Gomez volleyed Facundo Erpen’s pass, then pivoted around defender Ugo Ihemelu and lofted a 25-yard shot that sailed over goalkeeper Kevin Hartman’s right shoulder.

“Christian’s goal was the goal of the year,” United coach Peter Nowak said. “It was the highlight of the game.”

Jaime Moreno almost scored his eighth goal of the season — and the 102nd of his career — in the 65th minute. But Moreno’s 13-yard shot hit the crossbar before ricocheting off the right post.

Jones tied the score late in the game, after United’s Domenic Mediate deflected Paulo Nagamura’s pass to Jones. United goalkeeper Troy Perkins charged forward as Jones headed the ball downward, and Jones scored into an open net from 8 yards out.

“It’s actually an unlucky play,” United midfielder Brian Carroll said of Mediate’s deflection. “Domenic was trying to make a good defensive play and winds up playing the ball to Cobi.”

Jones’ goal culminated a late flurry of chances against United’s disorganized defense. Herculez Gomez had two such chances in two minutes.

In the 79th minute, Jones freed Gomez for a breakaway. Gomez beat Erpen and fired an 8-yard shot that Perkins caught at the right post.

Gomez had a better chance in the 80th minute. The forward trapped Todd Dunivant’s pass with his chest and lined a 10-yard shot. But Perkins dived to his right to deflect it with both hands.

The Galaxy had two opportunities to win in second-half stoppage time. Perkins made another diving save on Dunivant’s shot from the left flank and blocked Alan Gordon from point-blank range.

“We didn’t underestimate them,” United defender Bobby Boswell said. “We knew they were champions last year. But they had nothing to lose. They really poured it on at the end and we didn’t do well enough to regroup.”

The Galaxy’s relentlessness in the second half resulted in seven shots, five of them on goal. In contrast, United had only one shot on goal in that half.

“We were pretty dead at the end,” Nowak said. “We forgot that the game is 90 minutes.”

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