for this game

United's own goal keeps Chivas ahead in wild-card race

Oct 4, 2009 - 3:07 AM By KEVIN HILGERS STATS MLS Correspondent

WASHINGTON (STATS) - RFK Stadium has long been a fortress for D.C. United, but lately opponents have been picking apart the home team.

Chivas USA used United's first-half own goal to stay ahead in the wild-card playoff race with a 2-0 win Saturday night.

It was the third straight home defeat for United, who saw their postseason hopes dim.

Maicon Santos set up the decisive strike in the 33rd minute, when Chivas (12-9-5) preyed on a miscue by United goalkeeper Milos Kocic - making just his third career start. Jesus Padilla added to the lead in the 53rd minute.

Chivas moved into a tie with Seattle for the first of four wild-card spots with four matches remaining

"We came here to win," Santos said. "We worked all week to get a win here in D.C., and we got it."

Chivas controlled the pace of the match from the start, and United (8-8-12) managed just two shots on Zach Thornton, who tallied his 11th shutout of the season.

United, playing before a season-high 24,175, stumbled into a deficit they could never erase.

Sacha Kljestan lobbed a ball into the box to Santos, who tangled loose from several United defenders and fired a shot from 15 yards. It ricocheted off the nearside goalpost, and when Kocic tried to make a play, it bounced off his back.

When Kocic turned around, the ball had trickled across the goal line.

"I thought from the first moment we were ready to play," Chivas coach Preki said. "We were seeing the game from the bench that it was just a matter of time before we could break them down and score the goal. Once we scored one goal, we knew were going to get more chances."

Taking command early was the difference for Chivas.

"I think it went exactly how we wanted it to go," Carey Talley said. "We planned on coming in here, getting three points, pushing the tempo the whole time. I think from Minute 1 we were on top of them."

After winning their first 11 games at RFK Stadium this season, United (8-8-12) have dropped their last three, including a 2-1 loss to lowly San Jose on Sunday.

Making the defeat to the Earthquakes more damaging, goalkeeper Josh Wicks suffered season-ending shoulder and knee injuries in that contest, elevating Kocic to the starting spot.

United now trail New England by two points for the final playoff spot with two matches left.

"Our playoff hopes are slim now," coach Tom Soehn said. "We dug ourselves in a major hole. Now we're looking at everybody else, but in the end we have to look at ourselves and find a way to dig ourselves out again."

With United struggling to assemble an attack, the crowd briefly chanted "Fire Soehn."

Frustrations were apparent on the field, too.

Ben Olsen received a red card in the 66th minute after a tussle with Chivas' Yamith Cuesta.

Cuesta earned a yellow card for shoving Olsen as he brought the ball across the midfield. Olsen responded by kicking the ball off the shoulder of Cuestra, who fell into a writhing heap as Olsen was sent off the field.

"Frustration. It's pretty simple," Olsen said. "I was frustrated and I lost my head for a second."

    CHIVAS 2

    Oct 3 9:28 PM

    CHIVAS 2

    Oct 3 9:24 PM

    CHIVAS 2
    CHIVAS GOAL: Jesus Padilla in the 53rd minute

    Chivas USA 2, D.C. United 0  2nd - 53'Oct 3 8:48 PM

    CHIVAS 1

    Oct 3 8:23 PM

    CHIVAS 1
    CHIVAS GOAL: Maicon Santos in the 32nd minute

    Chivas USA 1, D.C. United 0  1st - 32'Oct 3 8:10 PM