Crew at D.C. United preview

OUT: FW Santino Quaranta (adductor surgery); FW Eliseo Quintanilla (R fibula fracture); FW Thiago Martins (L ACL surgery) ... COLUMBUS CREW -- QUESTIONABLE: GK Matt Jordan (L sprained ankle); PROBABLE: MD Manny Lagos (R knee arthroscopic surgery) ...

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

SUSPENDED: none

YELLOW PERIL: CLB: MD Brian Maisonneuve (10 CP in 2 gms)

HEAD-TO-HEAD

ALL-TIME (20 meetings): United 14 wins (5 shootout), 43 goals ... Crew 11 wins (0 shootout), 46 goals ... 3 draws

  • This is the first of four meetings between the two teams this season, the first of two in a row at RFK Stadium. They'll play again on East Capitol Street on June 19, then move to the shores of the Olentangy for games on Aug. 21 and Sept. 25.

  • A year ago, United won the first of the four meetings between the clubs -- then the Crew won two of the final three with one drawn. United won 3-0 at home on June 14 (Petke 43; Eskandarian 79, 85), before Columbus returned the favor at Crew Stadium two weeks later with a 3-0 triumph (West 8, McBride 25, Walsh 60).

  • The teams played to a 1-1 draw on Oct. 4 in Columbus (Paule 19 -- Etcheverry 59 pen), before Columbus won two weeks later at RFK Stadium in dramatic fashion in a last-ditch effort to save their playoff future (Stoitchkov 37, Petke 90 -- West 26; McBride 90 pen, 100).

  • United have won just once in the last eight meetings over the last two seasons, coming last year. The previous year, Columbus won three of the four encounters.

  • D.C. has won just twice in the last four seasons against the Crew, the victory before last year coming on Aug. 25, 2001. In the first four years of MLS, United won 12 of the 16 league meetings between the two teams (five by shootout), and three times eliminated the Crew from the MLS Cup Playoffs.

  • Jaime Moreno is United's all-time leader against the Crew with 10 goals, 6 assists. Among active players, Ronald Cerritos is next with 6 goals, 3 assists (none while with United), then Dema Kovalenko (2 goals, 3 assists -- none with United), and then Mike Petke (3 goals, 2 while with United). Santino Quaranta and Alecko Eskandarian each have 2 goals v Columbus.

  • Manny Lagos leads current Crew players with 6 goals, 3 assists v United, but none of those came while with Columbus. Jeff Cunningham is next with 5 goals, 1 assist, while Brian Maisonneuve has 1 goal, 8 assists. The Crew's all-time leader against D.C. is Brian McBride with 11 goals, 5 assists.

  • Coaches record: Peter Nowak vs. CHI: first meeting... Greg Andrulis v DC: P10 W6 L2 T2

    D.C. UNITED

    D.C. United snapped a two-game losing streak with a 1-1 draw against the San Jose Earthquakes, coming back from a goal down against the defending MLS Cup champion. United lie in third place in the Eastern Conference with five points from five matches, three behind the East-leading Chicago Fire and two behind the MetroStars.

  • 14-year-old Freddy Adu made his first professional start in attack alongside Jaime Moreno, but the goals came from players not usually known for their marksmanship as San Jose and D.C. United shared the spoils.

  • "We felt like we had to give him a chance," United coach Peter Nowak said, "because he has worked very hard. I'm very impressed with his work ethic. But he's still very young, and he can do better, that's for sure."

  • Center back Troy Dayak gave the Earthquakes a 33rd-minute lead when he headed home a free kick whipped in from the right flank, but midfielder Dema Kovalenko pulled the visitors level in the 66th minute when he was left all alone at the back post to finish off a pinpoint cross from Bobby Convey.

  • In addition to Adu coming in for Alecko Eskandarian in attack, Nowak made one other change to the team that lost 1-0 to Chicago Fire at RFK Stadium the previous weekend, Brandon Prideaux coming into the back three for Mike Petke.

  • Here's Nowak's team (3-1-4-2): Nick Rimando -- Bryan Namoff, Ryan Nelsen, Brandon Prideaux -- Brian Carroll -- Earnie Stewart, Dema Kovalenko, Ben Olsen, Bobby Convey (Joshua Gros 86) -- Jaime Moreno, Freddy Adu (Alecko Eskandarian 78).

  • After the match, the main talking point was Adu's performance, who took just one shot (off target) on the afternoon. "If he's going to stay up top with the big towers in the back like today with Dayak and (Craig) Waibel, he's not going to have a lot of chances," Nowak said. "If he drops ... and plays striker, he's going to have his touches, he's going to have his runs. There were a couple of times today when he was up there with the big towers, and he just disappears."

  • Adu was realistic about his performance as well: "I felt like I played well enough to earn another start. It wasn't my best game ever, but this is the pro leagues. It's another level. You're not going to tear it up right from the start."

  • Nowak was pleased about his team's second-half performance, after two successive losses where they team had failed to build on first-half dominance. "That was one of our best games in the last three months," he said. "The guys showed their commitment in the second half. Everybody was on the same page."

  • When Convey came off in the 86th minute, he and Nowak had an angry exchange. "Everyone wants to be on the field for 90 minutes, everyone wants to play," Nowak said. "But in this situation, Bobby had his game [with the U.S. national team last] Wednesday against Mexico. We were just afraid he would hurt himself. We wanted to make sure he was ready for the next game."

  • Said Convey: "For me, I don't want to come out. That's just what it was," Convey said afterward. "We talked after the game. Peter was the same way as me when he played. If you're playing well, you don't want to come out, you don't want to be sitting on the bench the last 10 minutes. I have a different mind-set this year -- I'm more intense and Peter knows it, and now we're fine."

  • United played a 70-minute scrimmage against the University of Maryland on Tuesday, but the bigger news was that midfielder Eliseo Quintanilla saw some time. The club expects to again be available in a few weeks.

    COLUMBUS CREW

    The Columbus Crew remained winless on the season though they grabbed their first point of 2004, battling to a scoreless draw at home with the Dallas Burn on Saturday night. The Crew remain rooted to the bottom of the Eastern Conference and the MLS overall table with one point from four matches, three points behind fourth-place New England Revolution.

  • Columbus 'keeper Jon Busch twice snatched balls off his own goal line to protect the scoreless draw and earn the Crew their first point of the season, though the home side saw its scoreless drought extend to 5 1/2 hours. The Burn are unbeaten in four matches, a club record to start a season.

  • Busch was almost beaten just before the break but Eddie Johnson's header hit the Crew's Kyle Martino on the line, rebounded off the underside of the bar and back off Martino before Busch was able to grab it just before it crossed the line. In the second half, Busch parried a Steve Jolley off the inside of the post before falling on it as it fell onto the goal line.

  • "You know, some days you wake up and the birds are chirping for you and today was one of those days," Busch said. "Maybe in one of the first three games those would have went in. Tonight it seems the roles were reversed. We were getting the bounces our way. It was nice to finally be on that side of it."

  • Crew coach Greg Andrulis made two changes to the team that lost 2-0 to the Los Angeles Galaxy the weekend before, but also made a fundamental tactical shift, going to three defenders after playing the first four games with a back four.

  • Frankie Hejduk returned from suspension and came in at a left wingback role, while Ross Paule returned to the team for Duncan Oughton, moving into a central midfield role.

  • Here's Andrulis's team (3-4-1-2): Jon Busch -- Steven Herdsman, Robin Fraser, Chad Marshall -- Brian Maisonneuve (Chris Wingert 57), Ross Paule (Duncan Oughton 76), Simon Elliott, Frankie Hejduk -- Kyle Martino -- Edson Buddle, Jeff Cunningham.

  • "That's as good as we've done offensively this season," Andrulis said. "The lineup was much more aggressive. If you had said to me that in the first four games Jeff (Cunningham) and Edson would not have a goal, I would have said you're nuts. They're saving them up."

  • But Cunningham said the fault lies in the team's predictable attack. "I'm watching (Los Angeles Galaxy forward) Carlos Ruiz and he gets five, six, seven chances a game," Cunningham said. "And you're telling me I can't get at least two a game? We have to create more chances, we have to be better.

  • "Every team knows that Jeff Cunningham is one option, and I don't know where the other options are. ... Every team is keying on Jeff Cunningham, and I'm not getting the chances and no one else seems to be creating any chances. We need to get it done and stop putting the responsibility on one person. I'm man enough to accept responsibility. At the same time, people need to step up. I'm being pointed out more than anyone else. ... I'm man enough to say I need to do better. At the same time, I think people are just happy with playing 90 minutes and saying 'Hey, that's the end of the day' for them."

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