Fire look to spoil United's home debut

coached by Thomas Rongen, who led United to the third of their four MLS Cup triumphs in 1999.

  • Josh Gros put United ahead in the first half with the simplest of tap-ins of a rolling Brian Carroll cross at the far post after a counterattack split apart the Chivas defense (32). Then after Chivas had narrowly missed a number of quality chances, Christian Gomez put the game away 14 minutes from the end when he deftly chipped Chivas 'keeper Brad Guzan after latching on to the ball in the penalty area.
  • D.C. United coach Peter Nowak had a surprise for the season opener, starting rookie Bobby Boswell at the heart of the back three in the position vacated by former club captain Ryan Nelsen, now with Blackburn Rovers in the England Premier League.
  • Here's Nowak's team in the opener (3-4-1-2): Nick Rimando - Brandon Prideaux, Bobby Boswell, Mike Petke - Joshua Gros, Brian Carroll, Ben Olsen, Steve Guppy (Santino Quaranta 68) - Christian Gomez (Clyde Simms 83) - Alecko Eskandarian (Freddy Adu 74), Jaime Moreno
  • "The first half wasn't great but we had a great counterattack and we finished very good," Nowak said to The Washington Post. "The soccer part wasn't great and I expected a little bit more, but I think in the second half the team did very well, especially in the midfield and the back."
  • Boswell was not drafted, but brought during the preseason on trial and landed a job by the start of the season. Boswell is a product of Florida International University. "I'm a new guy and hopefully they'll have the confidence in me to keep doing the job that I know I can do," Boswell said.
  • On Wednesday, United battled through a frustrating 1-1 draw with two-time defending Mexican champion Pumas UNAM in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions Cup semifinal series. Christian Gomez gave United a dream start after 10 minutes, heading home a pinpoint cross from Jaime Moreno from the left flank. But a highly questionable penalty six minutes after the break was converted by Ailton da Silva to give Pumas the draw heading back to Mexico in a week's time.
  • "We did a pretty good job, running and finding good chances in the first half. We should have been the winner, but we need to finish the chances we get," said Nowak. "We still have the second leg and we're going to give everything we have, because we have got to win."
  • Here's Nowak's team (3-4-1-2): Nick Rimando - David Stokes, Bobby Boswell, Mike Petke - Joshua Gros, Brian Carroll, Ben Olsen, Steve Guppy (Santino Quaranta 70) - Christian Gomez (Freddy Adu 79) - Alecko Eskandarian (Jamil Walker 85), Jaime Moreno
  • Brandon Prideaux, a starter in United's back three in the season opener, missed the Champions Cup match through 'flu. Bryan Namoff was still suffering from a back injury which kept him out of the season opener.
  • CHICAGO FIRE

    After failing to reach the MLS Cup Playoffs a season ago, the Chicago Fire didn't get their 2005 season off the start they had hoped for, falling 2-1 to FC Dallas at the Cotton Bowl on Saturday. The Fire sit at the foot of the Eastern Conference table after one week, the only team in the division to fail to come away with at least a point from their opener.

  • FC Dallas celebrated their change of name and look with their victory against a 10-man Fire -- the club's big offseason signings all doing their part in the victory.
  • Richard Mulrooney -- a winter acquisition from San Jose -- gave FC Dallas a dream start when he smashed home a half-volley from outside the area after just two minutes, a Ronnie O'Brien cross from the left helped on by a flick header from another new boy, striker Carlos Ruiz.
  • Then just two minutes after the break, star U.S. international striker Eddie Johnson kept up his blinding form with his first league goal, diving in to head home a Carey Talley cross, neatly putting the ball off the inside of the post.
  • Fire defender Leonard Griffin was sent off in the 51st minute for a second bookable offense, but Kelly Gray pulled a goal back for the visitors with 17 minutes left. He headed the rebound of a saved Jesse Marsch shot into an unguarded goal, yet it wasn't enough.
  • Two of the Fire's big offseason signings - Tony Sanneh and Samuel Caballero - were unavailable for Dave Sarachan through injury, but Honduras international Mario Ivan Guerrero did start on the left of midfield.
  • Here's Sarachan's team (4-4-2): Zach Thornton - Kelly Gray, C.J. Brown, Jim Curtin, Leonard Griffin - Justin Mapp, Chris Armas, Jesse Marsch (Chad Barrett 80), Mario Ivan Guerrero - Andy Herron (Chris Rolfe 66), Nate Jaqua
  • For Gray, it was the fourth team a player had scored a goal in the season opener with his team a man down. Tony Sanneh (D.C. United, 3/15/98 v Miami) and Ali Curtis (D.C. United, 3/23/02 v L.A.) also did it - as did Jefferson Gottardi, who scored two goals for short-handed Tampa Bay on March 20, 1999 against D.C. United.
  • On Tuesday, the Fire announced the signing of Slovakian national team forward Lubos Reiter. The 30-year-old striker comes from Czech Gambrinus Liga (first division) side Sigma Olomouc, where he had three goals in 14 matches this season. He had 31 goals in four seasons in the Czech Republic after moving from MSK Zilina in Slovakia following the 2001-02 season. He has eight goals in 25 appearances for Slovakia since making his international debut in 2001 and has been a regular call-up for the selection in recent World Cup qualifiers.
  • "When you have the ability to acquire a player out of Europe with Lubos's experience and background and the current form he's showing, it is something you can't pass on," said Fire Head Coach Dave Sarachan. "Obviously, with the departure of Damani [Ralph] we kept our eyes on an additional forward for our team, and we think Lubos will have a real presence on our team both on the ground and in the air, giving our team another great dimension."
  • On Tuesday, a team of mostly Fire reserves defeated the University of Illinois-Chicago 3-1 in a friendly. Thiago, Will John and Chris Rolfe netted for the Fire; their opponents are coached by former MLS assistant coach John Trask. Here's the Fire team: Matt Pickens (David Mahoney 41), Jared Montz (Hollis Donaldson 41), Jack Stewart, Samuel Caballero, Gonzalo Segares (Leonard Griffin 50), Logan Pause, Scott Buete, Thiago, Will John, Andy Herron (Will Johnson 41), Chad Barrett (Chris Rolfe 41)

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