- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 30, 2009

The game of musical chairs with D.C. United’s goalkeepers seems to have ended.

Josh Wicks appears to have earned the starting job after a fine performance in the club’s last game and likely will start when United visits New England on Saturday.

“If I could lock up that first spot, it would be a great accomplishment in my career,” Wicks said Friday.

On most teams, the goalie spot is the most predictable, but not for United. Coach Tom Soehn has rotated three goalies, with Louis Crayton (six starts), rookie Milos Kocic (three) and Wicks (three) all receiving first-team action.

“You want that guy behind you to be someone you see on a continuous basis every game,” said Bryan Namoff, United’s most experienced defender. “Josh Wicks last week had a great game and performance, and we’ve been building upon that on the training field.”

Wicks earned his first career shutout in a scoreless tie with Real Salt Lake on May 23 at RFK Stadium. It was probably the best game by a United keeper this year.

“That was the performance I was waiting for - to show the coaches I can play at that level,” Wicks said.

Wicks joined United from the Los Angeles Galaxy at the start of the season and played the first two games while Crayton was injured. Then Crayton and Kocic got all the starts until last week. Wicks admitted that when he joined United he was a little overweight.

“When he came in here, we put some benchmarks down, and he achieved those,” Soehn said.

With Wicks and Kocic making the trip to New England, Crayton’s situation is bleak. He takes up a large chunk of United’s salary cap by earning $178,857. Wicks is listed as earning $42,000, and Kocic is on a developmental contract for $20,000. Crayton, whose contract is up in July, did not dress for the last game.

Against the Revolution, Wicks will face the worst offense in the league. The Revolution (2-3-4, 10 points) have scored just eight goals in nine games, with just three goals at home. United (3-1-7, 16 points) is unbeaten in seven league games, and the Revolution have not won in six matches since their home opener April 4.

In the clubs’ last meeting April 17 at RFK Stadium, United squeaked out a 1-1 tie on a late goal from Ben Olsen.

Injury updates - United will play without Christian Gomez (toe) and Olsen (hamstring). The Revolution will be without defender Chris Albright (knee), Gabriel Badilla (back) and Mauricio Castro (hamstring). Taylor Twellman, who has been out all season with a neck injury, is listed as doubtful.

John joins T&T; - United defender Avery John was called up to the Trinidad and Tobago national team for World Cup qualifier games against Costa Rica (June 6) and Mexico (June 10).

F.A. Cup - American Tim Howard will be in goal for Everton when it faces Chelsea in the F.A. Cup on Saturday at Wembley Stadium. The game will be shown live on Fox Soccer Channel at 10 a.m.

Howard will be the first American to play in two finals. He was in goal for Manchester United in 2004. John Harkes (1993) is the only other American to have played in the final.

The F.A. Cup is the world’s oldest soccer event and involves more than 750 clubs.

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