- The Washington Times - Friday, April 18, 2008

Even with the strongest lineup coach Tom Soehn could use, D.C. United fell short last night at RFK Stadium.

United lost 2-1 to the Columbus Crew before a crowd of 13,329. It wasn’t as one-sided as Saturday’s loss at Real Salt Lake in which three key players rested, but United’s offense still struggled to find the right chemistry.

We’ve been through a tough stretch, and I feel like this is deja vu from last year, said Soehn, whose team lost its first three games last season but went on to have the best record in MLS.

Defender Bryan Namoff gave United (1-3) its lone goal on the night. The club, which was coming off a 4-0 loss in Utah, has given up a league-worst nine goals in four games.

In the duel between Argentine greats Marcelo Gallardo of United and Guillermo Barros Schelotto of the Crew, who played for rivals River Plate and Boca Juniors, Schelotto had the upper hand.

In the 32nd minute Schelotto punished United, assisting on Alejandro Moreno’s goal. Schelotto fed Frankie Hedjuk in the box. Hejduk then crossed for Moreno, who knocked home a close-range shot past United goalie Zach Wells.

We talked all week about breaking them down and making sure Schelotto and Moreno wouldn’t hurt us on the counter-attack, Soehn said.

Namoff, who had seen an earlier shot go wide, tied the game when his shot deflected off Adam Moffat in the 42nd minute. But United was back even just for one minute.

Schelotto again was involved in the final goal, back-heeling a pass to Moffat, who crossed for Moreno. United defender Gonzalo Peralta, with Moreno on his back, tried to head the ball clear but instead put it in his own net.

In the 57th minute Soehn sent on Franco Niell and Rod Dyachenko to replace Jaime Moreno and Marc Burch, and later forward Santino Quaranta replaced Devon McTavish, but United couldn’t find another goal.

Peralta nearly made up for his error with a blistering shot in the dying minutes, but it went just wide.

Former United midfielder Brian Carroll, whose brothers Jim and Pat are on the United reserve team, was playing in his first game since moving from United in the expansion draft. He was yellow-carded in the 29th minute for a lunging tackle on Gallardo.

Also in the first half, United had a perfect chance when Fred set up Luciano Emilio with a cross, but Emilio wasted the chance heading straight to Crew goalie Will Hesmer.

He got himself into good spots again, but he didn’t finish, Soehn said of Emilio, who has one goal after scoring 20 last year.

Notes Yesterday the club signed defenders Jeff Curtin and Mike Zaher to developmental contracts. Both are available for United’s reserve game against the Crew at RFK’s auxiliary field this morning.

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