- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 22, 2006

After two consecutive ties on the road in which opponents knotted the score in the closing minutes, D.C. United wanted to attain an early lead and hold on for a victory. It did just that last night, defeating the Chicago Fire 1-0.

The victory extended United’s unbeaten string to eight games and improved its home record to 6-0-2 before 12,385 at RFK Stadium.

Sitting atop Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference, United (8-1-5) wasted no time forcing the last-place Fire (2-5-5) to play catch-up. Midfielder Clyde Simms scored his first career goal, rocketing a shot from 15 yards beyond the penalty box in the 17th minute to give United a 1-0 lead. Midfielder Christian Gomez notched his sixth assist on that goal.

“It’s very exciting,” Simms said. “No one stepped up, so I just decided to hit it, and luckily it came off hard and low.”

United made the lead stand up, but the Fire had scoring opportunities of their own, keeping the pressure on D.C. goalkeeper Troy Perkins in the second half. Perkins made his best rejection against Fire forward Andy Herron on a shot from the corner of the goalie box.

The victory was Perkins’ fourth shutout of the season, a league high.

Although last night’s victory gave United an nine-point lead over the Kansas City Wizards in the East, the postgame mood was anything but celebratory.

“It wasn’t pretty, but in these kind of conditions you just have to survive,” coach Peter Nowak said.

Perhaps the most troubling moment came when United’s leading scorer, Jaime Moreno, was carried off the field on a stretcher in the 76th minute because of an unspecified leg injury. Moreno did not return, and his status will not be known until further examination. Additionally, midfielder Domenic Mediate left the game with a concussion.

United also had to cope with the absence of forward Lucio Filomeno, who returned to his native Argentina to play for his former team, Nueva Chicago, which was recently promoted to Argentina’s First Division. Filomeno recorded his first goal in his first start at the age of 15 when he played for Nueva Chicago in 1995. With United, Filomeno had one goal and one assist in five games.

Freddy Adu’s shooting woes for United continued as he failed to score on two shots. Although he has taken a team-high 32 shots this season, he has not scored.

“It takes so much out of you. It just takes so much out of you,” Adu said. “You keep trying and trying and trying, and you get the same results over and over again.”

Notes —The United will face the Wizards (6-4-2) next on Saturday at 7:30 pm at RFK. … Nowak said goalkeeper Nick Rimando, who is healthy after a preseason foot injury, might see some playing time in the next week.

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