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Eastern Conference Championship

United leave points in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Funny how high heat and humidity can affect memory.

Memories of D.C. United's 1-1 draw Wednesday against Kansas City at Arrowhead Stadium might eventually fade for all United players. Memories of the 94 degrees at kickoff might not fade as quickly. The result, though, will live on.

D.C. United gained a point and pulled ahead of the MetroStars and into fourth place in the Eastern Conference. D.C. United has 26 points from their 18 games, though they still trail the third-place Wizards by three points.

United's goal came in the 44th minute when Josh Gros picked up the ball after Jaime Moreno deflected a pass by the Wizards defense. That left Gros with the ball at his feet and clear field in front of him from near the halfway line.

He dribbled the ball into the Wizards penalty area and his shot went into the net after taking a deflection off Wizards defender Nick Garcia, who was trying to jockey between the United winger and Moreno steaming up the center-forward channel.

In just the third minute, Gros had a similar opportunity when he picked off a crossfield pass from Shavar Thomas to Brian Roberts. Wizards goalkeeper Bo Oshoniyi and Roberts combined to stop Gros from nearly the same spot from when would score later. But after the match, the heat had left its effect.

"Which one was that?" Gros said. "I'm sorry, I don't remember that one."

There were so many scoring chances to remember. D.C. United had nine shots on goal and limited the Wizards to four. It was not quite the same type of game as the season-high 14 shots on goal that D.C. United had against the MetroStars on June 12 in a scoreless draw, but it came pretty close. Eight of the 11 field players who played had a shot on goal.

"We should have won this game. Everybody in the locker room feels the same way," D.C. United coach Peter Nowak said. "We had a lot of chances, they had a lot of chances - we need to do a better job of looking for the second goal."

D.C. United almost had that second goal several times. In the 58th minute, Freddy Adu played a diagonal ball for Christian Gomez in the left side of the penalty area. Oshoniyi saved Gomez's shot and the rebound found Moreno, who contorted his body to head it into the net, but he was ruled offside.

Less than a minute later, the Wizards tied the score on Scott Sealy's fifth goal of the season. Sealy collected the rebound of Chris Klein's shot from outside the penalty area and slipped it past United goalkeeper Nick Rimando.

D.C. United almost snatched the three points in the 88th minute when second half substitute Jamil Walker headed a free kick from the left side of the penalty area that was cleared off the line by Wizards midfielder Kerry Zavagnin. The Wizards had a lot of the possession at times, but D.C. United had more dangerous scoring opportunities.

"Part of our strategy was to drop off," D.C. United defender Brandon Prideaux said. "Kansas City likes to counterattack so it makes sense to drop off and have them break us down and see if they can pass it around us. By and large I don't think they did that."

With three points in their grasp, Moreno said they could have had a better result.

"We created more chances than them and unfortunately, we couldn't put them away," Moreno said. "We disappointed. We could have gone away with three points, but that's soccer."

It was a fitting end to the four games the 2005 MLS Cup Finalists played this season. Each team won a game by one goal and there were two draws, both in Kansas City. Each team scored four goals in the head-to-head series.

Robert Whitman 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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