Rayo Vallecano tops D.C. United

D.C. united concluded the second leg of their preseason schedule Thursday with a 2-1 loss to Spanish second division side Rayo Vallecano. Kiko and Raul Iznata scored goals on either side of halftime before Devon McTavish pulled United within one late in the match played at Estadio Rayo Vallecano. The loss takes D.C. United to 2-2-2 in exhibition play this preseason.

"With the game today, we've finished the toughest portion of our preseason training," said United head coach Peter Nowak. "We played three games and were able to get our guys a lot of minutes. s we prepare for Charleston [South Carolina], we're looking forward to polishing details and improving technique and tactical elements of our game in order to be ready for the home opener."

Though United's defense remained organized and compact, the club struggled to complete passes and create opportunities in the final third. Long distance shots, however, proved difficult for Rayo Vallecano to handle. Brian Carroll's 30-yard attempt forced Segura to the ground for a save and, minutes later, Lucio Filomeno beat the 'keeper with a 35-yard freekick, but the left-footed blast smashed off of the crossbar.

Just before the half the hosts broke through. Kiko received the ball deep inside United's penalty area. The forward turned to goal before drawing the referee's whistle and a penalty kick. Kiko promptly deposited the spot kick past Nick Rimando and into the left side netting.

Nowak's nine halftime substitutions promptly went on the attack in the second stanza. Jamil Walker found space along the left sideline before springing Andy Metcalf. The rookie striker's left footed attempt beat Segura, but passed just outside of the far post.

Rayo Vallecano doubled their lead 55 minutes in thanks to Iznata. The defender casually gained the left side of the penalty area before launching a beautifully struck, bending ball with the outside of his left foot. The winding shot passed through a maze of United defenders, off the far post and into the back of the net.

The persistent visitors kept their composure, however, continuing to push forward. Walker gained the penalty area and drew defenders, before leaving the ball off to Justin Moose. His shot, under duress, missed just wide of the near post.

Just before full time, Rod Dyachenko changed fields to find an open Stephen deRoux. DeRoux's firm cross was headed away by the defense, but directly to a waiting McTavish. The West Virginia University product chested the ball out of the air and volleyed a well-struck ball past the helpless 'keeper for the final margin.

D.C. United will fly back to the U.S. on Friday and will train in the Nation's Capital next Tuesday and Wednesday before leaving for their third preseason trip on Thursday. For the third consecutive season, the club will participate in the Carolina Challenge Cup in Charleston, S.C.

NOTES

  • Thursday's lineup featured: Nick Rimando; Josh Gros (Domenic Mediate-45), Facundo Erpen (Brandon Prideaux-45), Bobby Boswell (Devon McTavish-45), John Wilson (Stephen deRoux-45); Brian Carroll (Jeff Carroll-45), Clyde Simms (Kenney Bertz-67), Christian Gomez (Rod Dyachenko-45); Jaime Moreno (Justin Moose-45), Lucio Filomeno (Andy Metcalf-45) and Freddy Adu (Jamil Walker-45).

  • Defender David Stokes (quad) and forward Matt Nickell (hamstring) did not travel to Spain, but will re-join the Black-and-Red upon their return stateside. Forward Santino Quaranta and midfielder Ben Olsen were rested on Thursday.

  • Forward Alecko Eskandarian and defender Bryan Namoff will fly directly to Washington, D.C., having sought the medical advice of specialists in Germany regarding persisting groin injuries.

  • More than 200 local school children attended Thursday's match courtesy of Fundación Red Deporte y Cooperación. The group, a 501 © 3 non-profit organization incorporated in the state of Maryland and whose objective is to promote sports as an educational tool and social integration in the framework of international cooperation, sponsored United's trip to Spain.

    The Foundation specializes in executing and promoting social and educational projects in developing nations around the world, using sports as a basic element of integration.

    The Foundation has already implemented these types of projects in African nations, including Sierra Leone, Angola, Malawi, Tanzania, Senegal and Zambia. It has also worked in Latin America in Nicaragua, Paraguay, Colombia, Dominican Republic and Brazil and others.

    In Spain, the Foundation - along with the cooperation of officials from the City of Madrid, the U.S. Embassy and different media outlets - are promoting a series of cultural and sports related activities that will take place from March 1-10 in Madrid, with D.C. United's match vs. Getafe FC being one of the main attractions of the festivities.

    For more information on the Foundation, please visit www.redeporte.org.