D.C. United vs. Nottingham Forest
July 14, 2004
7:30 p.m. ET
Live audio: www.dcunited.com
D.C. United will again play host on an English team's preseason tour, hoping to extend their unbeaten streak. Nottingham Forest will visit East Capitol Street on Wednesday night as part of their four-match preseason tour of the United States. As was the case in United's first midweek friendly of 2004, the Black-and-Red sit in second place in the Eastern Conference. They trail the MetroStars by two points, and are coming off a 1-0 loss in Kansas City over the weekend.
REFEREE: Mark Geiger
REFEREE ASSISTANTS: SAR (bench): George Vergara; JAR (opposite) Kenneth Kaplan
FOURTH OFFICIAL: John Schmitz
OUT: F Thiago Martins (L lateral meniscus tear); F Eliseo Quintanilla (R fractured fibula)
PROBABLE: F Santino Quaranta (adductor surgery).
ALL-TIME: Debut meeting
This is the first meeting between the clubs. United have had great luck against English teams both at home and abroad, holding a 4-0-1 record. The Black-and-Red's only blemish came in a 1997 draw against Leeds United, a 1-1 affair at RFK Stadium.
D.C. United have improved their lot since their previous midweek friendly against Rochester. They currently sit second in the Eastern Conference, two points behind the MetroStars and well in the playoff picture, seven points clear of the cellar. The Black-and-Red are coming off a 1-0 loss to the Kansas City Wizards on the weekend.
United coach Peter Nowak has continued to tinker with his lineup throughout the 2004 season, starting the same lineup only once in back-to-back games. Here is his first XI from the weekend tilt against the Wizards (3-5-2): Troy Perkins - Bryan Namoff, Ryan Nelsen, Mike Petke - Earnie Stewart, Jaime Moreno, Brian Carroll, Ben Olsen, Joshua Gros - Freddy Adu, Alecko Eskandarian.
Alecko Eskandarian has continued to shine, picking up a third Goal of the Week honor to go with his recognition as Week 12's MLS Player of the Week. Eskandarian leads United with two multiple-goal games and three game-winning goals. Both statistics see him atop the League tables, and he is one of only three players to have scored multiple goals in more than one match - alongside Carlos Ruiz and Jovan Kirovski.
Eskandarian's performance earned the youngster an All-Star nod, his first ever. He will join five of his United teammates - Jaime Moreno, Ryan Nelsen, Bobby Convey, Ben Olsen and Freddy Adu - on the Eastern Conference roster, the most representatives of any single team. Moreno and Nelsen were elected to the starting XI of the East squad, which will be coached by Peter Nowak.
"We showed heart today, but that alone is not enough," said Nowak of his team's last game. "We simply didn't play well. Consistency is key in this league and when we become more consistent we'll win more games like tonight."
United has finally received clearance to sign midfielder Nana Kuffour to a developmental contract. The 19-year-old Ghanaian has been training with the Black-and-Red since late April. He will be available for selection in the squad that faces Nottingham Forest.
This game marks a reunion of sorts. United midfielder Ben Olsen joined Nottingham Forest on loan during the 2000 season, making an immediate impact before a severe ankle injury sidelined him.
NOTTINGHAM FOREST FOOTBALL CLUB
Nottingham Forest finished the 2003-2004 season well safe of relegation, nine points clear of the drop zone, and made a strong showing in both the Carling and FA Cups, advancing to the third round of the Carling Cup and the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Wednesday's match is the first of a four-game preseason tour for Joe Kinnear's "Garibaldi Reds." Forest will also travel to take on the A-League's Virginia Beach Mariners and challenge United's U.S. Open Cup opponent Richmond Kickers and the University of Richmond in a pair of exhibition matches closer to their home away from home.
Nottingham Forest have been busy in the off-season, signing four new players to the side. Kris Commons, Kevin James, Andrew Impey and Alan Rogers join the Reds. Impey leads the signings, having appeared in England's U-21 National Team and in the West Ham side that captured the Worthington Cup in 2000.
The Reds have a pair of strong goalkeepers backing up the defense. Wearing the #1 shirt is Welsh international Darren Ward. Ward is regarded as the one of the best goalkeepers outside the Premiership, and has already established himself as strong competition for the Welsh #1 shirt, currently worn by Paul Jones. Joining Forest in 2004 from Everton was Paul Gerrard, who provided strong competition while on loan at the end of the 2003-2004 season.
Nottingham closed out the 2003-2004 season in solid form, going unbeaten in the team's final eight matches. Here is the starting XI from Forest's season finale against West Bromwich Albion (4-4-2): Paul Gerrard - Andrew Impey, Michael Dawson, Des Walker, Alan Rogers - Eoin Jess, Gareth Williams, Paul Evans, Andy Reid - Marlon King, David Johnson.
As part of the Garibaldi Reds' preseason tour, Joe Kinnear's squad spent an hour Monday conducting a youth clinic in Richmond, V.A. The clinic, open to children of Capitol One employees, is part of Forest's sponsorship agreement with the bank. Over 60 youth participated in the clinic, winning Forest a host of new supporters.