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Albright’s two goals help D.C. United move on by eliminating Rochester 3-0.

By Gary Davidson

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Wednesday, July 26, 2000) -- In a season which started poorly and has spiraled downward from there, D.C. United finally had a week to feel good about.

First, there was United’s 3-1 domination Saturday of the British Premier League’s Newcastle United, albeit in a meaningless exhibition. And tonight before a scant 3,186 at RFK Stadium, D.C. received two goals from midfielder Chris Albright in a 3-0 triumph over the Rochester Raging Rhinos, the defending titlist, to advance to the quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tournament.

With the elimination of the A-League’s Rhinos, eight Major League Soccer teams are all that remain in the Cup field. A year ago, Rochester rolled over four MLS teams en route to taking the U.S.’s oldest soccer crown. United will face the Miami Fusion August 9 in the quarters at a site to be determined, probably tomorrow.

The nature of Albright’s first tally, which produced a 1-0 lead in the 12th, recalled a time when good fortune smiled on D.C. United, a product of the design that created MLS’s first powerhouse, the winner of three MLS Cups, including 1999, and runnerup in the fourth.

Taking a pass from playmaker Marco Etcheverrry seven yards from the top left of the penalty area, Albright launched a left-footed shot. Defender Scott Schweitzer jumped in for a tackle, but succeeded only in redirecting the blast. With goalkeeper Scott Vallow unable to reverse his course, the ball neatly tucked into the top left corner of the goal.

"I think we’re finally getting some (luck)," said Albright, a member of the United States Olympic team on his first professional multi-goal game. "It’s nice to turn things around, personally and as far as the team goes I think we’re playing better ball and I think I’m figuring it out a little more too.

"Marco slid me a great ball and I was able to get a good strike off and bend it into the upper corner. I was fortunate. It deflected into the corner."

Though United controlled most of the match, it took a couple of string saves by keeper Mark Simpson early in the second half to preserve the 1-0 advantage. The best came two minutes after the break when Yari Allnut sent striker Eduardo Serbango alone into the left side of the box. With Simpson seemingly dead to right, Serbango surveyed his options, perhaps taking too much time before drilling a shot that Simpson parried away from close range.

"I saw him play it through" Simpson said. "Obviously with the ground being hard a slick (because of a persistent drizzle), I got a pretty good jump on it and was able to come out and smother it . . . It really was just a routine play."

In the 50th minute, Rhinos midfielder John Ball quickly took a restart from 25 yards out, but Simpson was alert and dropped quickly to his left to grab the shot. That was it for the Rochester attack.

In the 59th minute, the combination of Etcheverry, and forwards Jaime Moreno and Raul Diaz Arce evoked memories of the "Magic Triangle" that produced MLS championships in 1996 and ’97. Diaz Arce set Etcheverry free down the right flank. Etcheverry sent a cross into the box and Moreno slid in to smartly redirect the ball into the right corner for a 2-0 lead.

Moreno and defender Jeff Agoos both nailed the crossbar from 20 yards before Albright closed the scoring in the 89th minute. Moreno sent a right-side cross to the far post where Etcheverry headed it back to Albright who triggered a 12-yarder into the left corner past a helpless Vallow to make it 3-0.

"In the end, you walk away w3-0 against a team that the last five games against MLS teams won," United coach Thomas Rongen said. "You’ve got to be happy."

Rongen wasn’t happy about an elbow to the head that leveled 17-year-old midfielder Bobby Convey and sent him dazed to the sideline in the 82nd minute. "Another gracious foul by (Tommy Tanner)," Rongen grumbled. "It was unnecessary at that point.

Gary Davidson is managing editor of SoccerTimes and can be e-mailed at editor@soccertimes.com.

D.C. United (MLS) 1, Rochester Raging Rhinos (A-League) 0

Lineups: Rochester - Scott Vallow, Mike Kirmse, Craig Demmin, Scott Schweitzer, Carlos Zavala, Tommy Tanner, Lenin Steenkamp, John Ball (Daligcon 70), Martin Nash, Eduardo Sebrango (Lowe 53), Yari Allnut (Sedgewick 60). D.C. United - Mark Simpson, Geoff Aunger, Carey Talley, Carlos Llamosa, Jeff Agoos, Chris Albright, Marco Etcheverry, Richie Williams, Bobby Convey (Denton 82), Jaime Moreno, Raul Diaz Arce.

D.C. United - Albright (Etcheverry) 12.
D.C. United - Moreno (Etcheverry, Diaz Arce) 59.
D.C. United - Albright (Etcheverry, Moreno) 89.

Total shots: Rochester 8, D.C. United 14. Shots on goal: Rochester n/a, D.C. United n/a. Saves: Rochester - Vallow 5; D.C. United - Simpson 2. Fouls: Rochester 18, D.C. United 15. Offside: Rochester 2, D.C. United 2. Corner kicks: Rochester 3, D.C. United 9. Yellow card cautions: Rochester - Steenkamp 63, Sedgewick 74.

Referee: Gerrie Corrie, Noel Kenny. Referee's assistants: Nathan Clement, Robert Fereday, Dan Stead (fourth official). Attendance: 3,186 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. Weather: n/a.

Third-round scoreboard

Wednesday, July 19

at Crew Stadium
Hampton Road Mariners (A-League) 1
Columbus Crew (MLS)4

Tuesday, July 25

at White Pine Stadium
Miami (MLS) 3
Mid Michigan (PDL) 3
(Miami advances 6-5 in penalty kicks)

at Mitchell Field
Tampa Bay (MLS) 0
MetroStars (MLS) 3

at National Sports Center
Dallas (MLS) 2
Minnesota (A-League) 0

at Forest View Park
Rochester (MLS) 1
D.C. United (PDL) 0

at Spartan Stadium
Richmond (A-League) 0
San Jose (MLS) 2

at Mesa College
D.C. United (A-League) 0
Rochester (MLS) 2

Wednesday, July 26

at RFK Stadium
Rochester Rhinos (A-League) 0
at D.C. United (MLS) 3

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