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Roundup: United playing like champs

Ben Olsen and United have yet to lose in the preseason.

Photo Credit: 
Allen Kee/WireImage.com

With a 2-0 win over the MetroStars at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., on Tuesday, D.C. United extended their preseason unbeaten record to five games. Christian Gomez opened the scoring early and Zeferino Soares added a late tally to help the Black-and-Red finish the first portion of their preseason with a perfect record.

"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."

The 2004 MLS Cup Champions controlled play early and attacked often, earning five corner kicks in the opening 40 minutes. Gomez put United on top in the eighth minute when he pounced on a rebound and finished from close range. Soares put the game out of reach after collecting a pass from Freddy Adu and finishing to the far post.

Fire show U-17s no love

A Valentine's Day clash at the IMG Academy between the Chicago Fire and the U.S. U-17 national team left the Fire with a perfect preseason record as well, a 3-1 victory lifting Chicago to an unblemished 3-0 mark. Damani Ralph, Justin Cook and Chris Rolfe scored during the contest. The Fire have outscored their opponents by an impressive 10-3 in preseason games.

The match remained scoreless for most of the first stanza, though Ralph gave the Men in Red the lead 38 minutes in. Thiago fed the Jamaican international inside the penalty area and Ralph rocketed a shot into the upper portion of the net for the first goal of the match.

The Fire's young opponents would even things up after the break when Eddie Ababio tapped in an easy finish on a rebound. Chicago then quickly retook the lead when rookie striker Cook took advantage of a defensive miscue to score his first preseason goal. A failed clearance gifted Cook the chance, which he placed in the top right corner for the game-winning goal.

Rolfe put the game out of reach in the 82nd minute with his second preseason strike. Chad Barrett crossed the ball in from the right flank for Rolfe to bury from 11 yards out.

The Fire will next take the field on Wednesday when they face off with the San Jose Earthquakes in a preview to Chicago's 2005 home opener on April 16.

Quakes, U-20s fit to be tied

The San Jose Earthquakes drew 1-1 with the U.S. U-20 national team, also on Monday in Bradenton. Chris Roner, who missed the entire 2004 season following ankle surgery, scored the first goal for the Quakes in the 2005 preseason.

Head coach Dominic Kinnear sent two separate sides out in each half, giving 22 players the chance to make an impression. The match also featured a pair of trialists as Pablo Paz and Johnny Menyongar suited up with San Jose.

Paz was a member of Argentina's 1998 World Cup team and a veteran of the Spanish first division. Menyongar is a Liberian international who has spent the last five seasons in the A-League with the Minnesota Thunder.

Jonathan Nierman is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.


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