- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 24, 2009

The good news for D.C. United was that goalie Josh Wicks made the best of his third start with the club, earning his first MLS shutout while making eight saves.

The bad news is the offense couldn’t help earn Wicks a victory as United played to a 0-0 draw against Real Salt Lake on Saturday at RFK Stadium.

“Throughout the game I didn’t think about it that much [the shutout],” Wicks said. “Tonight I looked at it every five minutes. I knew that if I could win every five minutes I could win the game. And every five minutes I went from there.”

It was United’s seventh tie in 11 games this year and fourth at home. It earned just four ties all last year.

But United did remain unbeaten at home in nine games in all competitions.

While the defense did its job, United’s offense was insipid, giving former United goalie Nick Rimando little to do for much of the night.

“We had a good chance to score, and when we didn’t do it we kind of lulled ourselves to sleep,” United coach Tom Soehn said.

Soehn once again rotated his goalies. The high-salaried and experienced Louis Crayton, who has made six starts, did not dress, leading to speculation about his future with the team.

Wicks had little to do for much of the first half. An early scare came from his own defender when Marc Burch sliced a kick and forced Wicks to deal with the unintended shot. But in the 40th minute, the 6-foot-3 Wicks pulled off a stunning save, coming off his line to stop Robbie Findley on a one-on-one chance.

“He slipped through and I tried to close the space as much as possible, and as soon as he opened up to shoot, I went down and I was able to get an arm on it,” Wicks said.

United had an opportunity to take the lead in the 24th minute, but Fred shot wide from inside the 6-yard box. He was replaced by Rodney Wallace later on, who came close to scoring on a header.

United’s defense - keyed by Dejan Jakovic - was stellar for most of the game, containing playmaker Javier Morales and clamping down on Findley.

Still, Real Salt Lake kept Wicks busy, with Kyle Beckerman’s long-range shot and a Findley header testing him.

But the former Los Angeles Galaxy keeper may have won himself the starting job in United’s nets.

“Josh did well. As we tried to get the goal we opened ourselves up to counterattacks but I thought our defenders did well,” Soehn said. “He stepped up and did a great job. You can say he did what he needed to do to win us the game. Today he really showed that he put his mark on the game.”

FREEDOM 2, SKY BLUE FC 1: Striker Lisa De Vanna scored the game-winner as the Freedom (2-2-3, 9 points) earned their first home win, downing Sky Blue FC (1-4-2, 5 pts.) in the first game of the RFK doubleheader.

Defender Cat Whitehill added a goal for the Freedom, while Sky Blue got a goal back from Brazilian star Rosana.

Whitehill’s goal broke the deadlock in the 35th minute when she headed in Sonia Bompastor’s corner kick from the near post.

“It’s just good for us to get a win right now,” Whitehill said. “This is an excellent stadium to play in, and I have good memories playing here.”

De Vanna increased the Freedom’s lead eight minutes later, when she split two defenders and put the ball past Sky Blue FC goalie Jenni Branam for her second goal of the season.

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