Behind the Badge: Hitting a high note
Christian Gomez scored early and Zeferino Soares scored late on Tuesday as D.C. United finished the first segment of the club's preseason training with a perfect 5-0 record. The two tallies were backed by sturdy defense throughout the 80-minute scrimmage with the MetroStars and United won 2-0 in their final exhibition of the preseason at IMG Academies in Bradenton, Fla. The Black-and-Red have yet to trail this preseason and United's defensive regulars have yet to allow a goal.
"We've finished our first camp with a good win," said United Head Coach Peter Nowak. "I liked our effort today. We'll now take some rest and begin to prepare for our next training camp."
Throughout the first half, United displayed a lion's share of possession and attacking creativity. The efforts garnered five corner kicks in the first forty minutes. Josh Gros nearly placed himself on the scoreboard on the second, calmly controlling Eskandarian's re-start before sending a volley towards the far post. An extended Zack Wells momentarily kept the defending MLS Cup Champions from taking the early lead.
Eight minutes in, however, he was unable to do so again. Nick Van Sicklen sent Ben Olsen to the end line. Gros volleyed Olsen's service past Wells, but a MetroStars defender stopped the ball on the goal line. Gomez then pounced on the loose ball, sending the rebound into the net for a 1-0 lead.
D.C. United continued to control play the remainder of the half, passing the ball more crisply than their Atlantic Cup rivals and running at the MetroStars' outside defenders with speed. Nick Rimando was only challenged once in the first half, but he snagged John Wolyniec's 28th minute bid without issue.
Nowak substituted the entire side at halftime. Despite the wholesale changes and with the MetroStars sticking with their first team, United continued to control play with a more concerted and organized effort. While MetroStars opportunities came few and far between, United found space along the left flank. Eliseo Quintanilla twice found Jason Thompson from the area and once spotted Nana Kuffour's enterprising run, but United was not able to extend their one-goal margin.
Michael Bradley earned a second caution with a rash challenge on Santino Quaranta in the game's 76th minute. United quickly took advantage of the man-advantage with Freddy Adu sending a clever chip to Soares for a far post finish and the 2-0 victory.