for this game

Olsen scores a pair as United blanks FC Dallas

Sep 2, 2007 - 4:05 AM
By Ken Costlow PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

FRISCO, Texas (Ticker) -- The FC Dallas-D.C. United match Saturday was supposed to be a shootout between two of the better teams in Major League Soccer. As it turned out, one team dominated most of the shooting.

D.C. United picked up two goals from Ben Olsen and one each from Christian Gomez and Fred to roll to a 4-0 win over FC Dallas at Pizza Hut Park. The result allowed D.C. United (13-6-3) to regain the top spot in the Eastern Conference on goal difference over the New England Revolution. The two clubs both have 42 points.

"We're playing with a pretty good mentality right now whether we're home or away," D.C. United head coach Tom Soehn said. "We're moving the ball around and are pretty opportunistic. When we get our chances, we're dangerous and it's not just one guy. It's several guys."

It was the third two-goal outing by Olsen in his MLS career, but the second this season for the midfielder. The goals were the sixth and seventh of the season for Olsen.

FC Dallas (11-8-3) went down to its worst-ever defeat at Pizza Hut Park and remained in third place in the Western Conference. The team's previous worst setback at Pizza Hut Park was a 2-0 loss to the San Jose Earthqukes (now Houston Dynamo) in 2005. It was also the third straight year that D.C. United prevailed at FC Dallas' home ground.

D.C. United wasted little time in gaining the upper-hand in the match, going in front, 1-0, four minutes in as Clyde Simms claimed a distribution from FC Dallas goalkeeper Dario Sala in the midfield circle and sent a short pass over to Olsen.

Olsen blasted a low shot from 45 yards out past Sala and into the bottom left corner of the goal. Olsen said the ball appeared to pick up a little speed as it was going across the wet pitch and Sala misjudged the pace that the ball was coming in at.

"Benny has added a lot of offense this year," Soehn said. "We put him back in the spot where he originally started and he understands how to play that role well. He catches a lot of defenders on the back side. The shots he takes and the chances he creates are from being a veteran."

Olsen then added his second goal in first-half stoppage time, putting in a rebound shot from in front of the right post after Sala had deflected away an initial attempt by Luiciano Emilio. The play had been set up by a long ball into the box from Marc Burch.

"I don't think we played the real FC Dallas tonight," Olsen said. "You could tell they had some guys coming back from injuries. The Dallas that we've seen is a lot better than that. I think we did some pretty good things tonight. On the chances we had, I think we did well with them. That's the difference, sometimes, in these games."

FC Dallas head coach Steve Morrow was naturally dismayed at having to go in at halftime down two goals to D.C.United again. His club had faced a similar situation on July 14 at RFK Stadium, but rallied from three goals down to earn a 3-3 draw.

D.C. United outshot FC Dallas 12-9 on the night and had six shots on target, compared to FC Dallas' four. D.C. United keeper Troy Perkins made three saves, while Sala was credited with two.

"It was a very disappointing night," Morrow said. "(D.C. United) put the ball in the back of the net and we didn't. Our players are very disappointed with their performance, obviously. I'm always concerned when we give up goals, and I thought we gave up four very bad goals. I thought we started the game well in the first few minutes with good intensity and a good level."

Within five minutes of the second-half kickoff, the visitors had produced two more goals and put the match away for all intents and purposes. In the 47th minute, Burch sent another long ball into the box, where FC Dallas defender Chris Gbandi attempted to clear it away. Instead, the ball wound up going over to Gomez, who sent in the third goal into the back of the net from just inside the edge of the box.

Three minutes later, Fred took a cross from Gomez and beat Sala to the top right corner from 22 yards out to make the count 4-0 and seal the three points for D.C. United.

"We played (badly) and gave up four half-chances and they (D.C. United) punished us," FC Dallas defender Clarence Goodson said. "They finished their chances really well. We did a bad job and gave them those shots. If we don't give up the goal right before halftime, it's a different game. We need to get more numbers in the box. That was an inexcusable goal to give up."

Morrow did see an opportunity to bring in the team's newest acquisition, Brazilian midfielder Denilson, into the contest in the 55th minute. Denilson got off one shot in the 35 minutes of action, but also drew a yellow card for dissent 13 minutes from the end.

"It was tough for him, coming in a situation where we're 4-0 down," Morrow said. "But I thought he did some good stuff."

D.C. United continues its Western Conference road swing with a game next Thursday against Chivas USA at the Home Depot Center before returning home to face a critical Eastern Conference match against New England next Sunday.

Soehn is well aware of the importance of the upcoming matches, even though his team has won its last six matches in a row.

"There's always things you can do better. We still gave up a couple of crucial chances early in the game," Soehn said. "There are always things that you can work on and I expect that. It's not until the end of the season that you clean a lot of that stuff up but we're headed in the right direction."

FC Dallas play the Seattle Sounders of the United Soccer League Tuesday in the semifinals Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, then return to MLS play next Saturday in hosting Toronto FC at Pizza Hut Park.

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