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Dramatic comeback earns D.C. United first points of the season.

Washington D.C. (Saturday, April 8, 2000) -- It was turning into the third loss in a row for defending MLS Cup Champion D.C. United. But in a cold and wet RFK Stadium, United scored two goals in the span of a minute to clinch its first points of the season in a 3-2 victory against the Chicago Fire.

In the 92nd minute, with the Fire up 2-1, Jaime Moreno headed a Ben Olsen corner kick against the far post and gathered his own rebound to tie the game. Then with less than a minute to go in stoppage time, Ben Olsen controlled a short clearance by the Fire and sent a left-footed shot past Chris Snitko to secure a miraculous 3-2 victory.

It was a dramatic finish to a game that had taken an unexpected twist in the 85th minute. Playing with ten men after Andrew Lewis was sent off fifteen minutes previously, the Fire broke down the D.C. United defense to take the lead, 2-1. Ante Razov and Jesse Marsch played a give-and-go into the box and behind the United back line. Marsch, one-on-one against Tom Presthus, slotted home inside the right post.

The two teams had concluded an evenly played first half at 1-1. It was D.C. United which took the lead in the 21st minute when John Maessner gathered a weak clearance by the Fire at the edge of the box and rifled a shot into the right corner. It was D.C. United's first goal in the run of play this season.

Toward the end of the first half, Hristo Stoitchkov, playing in his first game back from a one-game suspension, raised his game and created a number of opportunities for the Fire. It was his first half stoppage time goal that knotted the score at 1-1. Kubik touched a free kick for the Bulgarian. Stoitchkov's launched a 30-yard left-footed missile that Tom Presthus had no shot to reach.

The Fire is still without a win at RFK Stadium. Chicago Fire coach Bob Bradley felt that some controversial referee decisions were a factor in the final result. "One part of me says it was a great game," Bradley said. "The other part of me says there are a couple of calls in the game that end up determining the game. It's a tough place to come and win when there's also some key calls that go against you."

In the seventh minute Chicago Fire players argued that Judah Cooks cleared a Dema Kovalenko shot off the line with his arm. Andrew Barnes, the referee, signaled play-on from good position.

Chicago also expressed some doubt about whether Moreno may have touched the ball with his hand on the tying goal.

Then in the third incident, Andrew Lewis committed a hard foul on Jaime Moreno and the referee did not hesitate to pull out the red card immediately. In the Fire's fourth consecutive road game to start the season, it was the fourth consecutive sending-off.

Coming into the game, D.C. United was decimated on defense, playing without Carlos Llamosa (groin injury) and Carey Talley (foot contusion). United played a three-man set in the back with Ben Olsen playing back on defense most of the game to protect against Chicago's left side of the attack.

Now D.C. United will play without its gamebreaker Olsen and Chris Albright, who was among the most active in the second half, as they both join the U-23 National Team training camp on Monday in preparation for the Olympic qualifying tournament in a few weeks. They will miss three games during that span.

Olsen, however, leaves his team with a jumpstart to the season and a sign in the D.C. United locker room that says "3 points".

D.C. United 3, Chicago Fire 2

Lineups: Chicago Chris Snitko, C.J. Brown, Lubos Kubik, Andrew Lewis, Sam George (Evan Whitfield 59), Chris Armas (C), Jesse Marsch, Peter Nowak, Hristo Stoitchkov, Ante Razov, Dema Kovalenko (Tom Soehn 75). D.C. United - Tom Presthus, Eddie Pope, Judah Cooks (Mike Burke 90), Jeff Agoos, Richie Williams, Geoff Aunger, John Maessner (A.J. Wood 77), Ben Olsen, Marco Etcheverry, Chris Albright, Jaime Moreno.

Scoring:
D.C. United - Maessner (unassisted) 21.
Chicago - Stoitchkov (Kubik) 46.
Chicago - Marsch (Razov) 85.
D.C. United - Moreno (Olsen) 92.
D.C. United - Olsen (Etcheverry) 93.

Total shots: Chicago 9 (Valencia 5), D.C. United 20 (Agoos 5). Shots on goal: Chicago 7 (Valencia 4), D.C. United 10 (Moreno 3, Agoos 3). Saves: Chicago - Snitko 6; D.C United - Presthus 4. Fouls: Chicago 11 (Valencia 5), D.C. United 22 (Talley 4). Offside: Chicago 0, D.C. United 4. Corner kicks: Chicago 2, D.C. United 12. Yellow card cautions: Chicago - Marsch 17, Stoitchkov 58, Whitfield 65; D.C. United - Cooks 52, Aunger 57. Red card ejections: Chicago - Lewis 69; D.C. United - none. Possession percentage: Chicago 33%, D.C. United 67%.

Referee: Andrew Barnes. Referee's assistants: George Vergara, Robert Fereday. Attendance: 14,612 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. Weather: Rainy, cold, 45 degrees, steady wind.


Los Angeles Galaxy 2, Columbus Crew 2 (OT)

Columbus, Ohio -- For the second straight game, the Los Angeles Galaxy made use of a late goal to earn a draw on the road against the Columbus Crew on Saturday night. Clint Mathis netted an 87th minute header to force overtime, while the Crew's Dante Washington recorded both goals for Columbus, in a match marred by frigid temperatures and freezing rain.

The Crew jumped out to a 1-0 start in the 16th minute of play when Robert Warzycha launched a long ball to midfielder Brian West, who pushed it upfield to teammate Brian McBride. Facing heavy pressure from the Galaxy's Ezra Hendrickson, McBride was unable to maintain possession and played the ball forward. Washington seized the opportunity and hammered a shot into the upper left-hand corner of the net.

Hendrickson knotted the game up at 1-1 two minutes later, finding the net off of a seemingly harmless restart. Hendrickson's blast bypassed Crew goalkeeper Mark Dougherty, finding the left-hand corner of the net for the equalizer.

Washington earned his second goal of the night in the 66th minute of play. McBride found Washington inside the Galaxy penalty area, supplying a quick pass to the edge of the 6-yard box. Galaxy `keeper Kevin Hartman could not stop the low shot, and the Crew moved out to a 2-1 lead.

Los Angeles equalized late in the game however, as Clint Mathis nodded the ball past Dougherty in the 87th minute. Second half-substitute Zak Ibsen notched his second assist of the year with an arcing pass that found Mathis along the far post. Dougherty moved out to knock the cross away, but Mathis connected first for the goal. Eleven of the Galaxy's 13 goals all-time against the Crew have come in the second half.

Despite a furious Crew assault in the overtime periods, neither side could find an advantage. After two five-minute periods of sudden-death play, the game ended in a 2-2 draw. Los Angeles battled back from a 2-0 deficit in their last game to tie the New England Revolution 2-2 on April 1. Mauricio Cienfuegos tallied on an unbelievable bicycle kick to tie in the closing minutes of regulation.

Columbus (1-2-1, 4 points) travels to Giants Stadium on Saturday, April 15, for a match against the Eastern Division's MetroStars (7:30 p.m. ET). The Galaxy (2-0-2, 8 points), still undefeated despite two consecutive games in which L.A. escaped with a draw, will host the Dallas Burn on April 15 (10:30 p.m. ET). That contest will likely prove to be a heated battle, as the two offensive minded teams clash in a rematch of the 1999 Western Conference Finals.

Miami Fusion 0, Columbus Earthquakes 0 (OT)

Lineups: Los Angeles - Kevin Hartman, Joe Franchino (Paul Caligiuri 46), Greg Vanney, Robin Fraser, Ezra Hendrickson, Simon Elliott, Danny Pena (Zak Ibsen 79), Mauricio Cienfuegos, Roy Myers (Sasha Victorine 64), Cobi Jones, Clint Mathis. Columbus - Mark Dougherty, Michael Clark, Ansil Elcock, Mike Lapper, Mike Duhaney, John DeBrito (Dominic Schell 96), Brian West (Jason Farrell 96), Robert Warzycha, John Wilmar Perez (Mario Gori 86), Dante Washington, Brian McBride.

Scoring: none.
Columbus - Washington (McBride, West) 15;
Los Angeles --Hendrickson (unassisted) 18;
Columbus - Washington (McBride) 66;
Los Angeles - Mathis (Ibsen, Caligiuri) 87.

Total shots: Los Angeles 23 (Mathis 7), Columbus 12 (Washington 4). Shots on goal: Los Angeles 6 (Mathis 2, Myers 2), Columbus 7 (Washington 3). Saves: Los Angeles - Hartman 4; Columbus - Dougherty 3. Fouls: Los Angeles 17 (Hendrickson 3, Myers 3), 24 (Clark 7). Offside: Los Angeles 2, Columbus 0. Corner kicks: Los Angeles 5, Columbus 6. Yellow card cautions: Los Angeles - Jones 92+; Columbus - Warzycha 22, Duhaney 48. Possession percentage: Los Angeles 53%, Columbus 47%.

Referee: Marcel Yonan. Referee's assistants: Nathan Clement, Robbie Mann. Attendance: 10,797 at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Weather: Cold, windy, flurries, 35 degrees.

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