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Gomez scores as DC United edges Real

Sep 13, 2007 - 3:15 AM By Tim Hipps PA Sportsticker Contributing Writer

WASHINGTON (Ticker) - Christian Gomez's goal in the 73rd minute helped DC United stretch their unbeaten streak to nine games and clinch a playoff berth with a 2-1 triumph over Real Salt Lake on Wednesday.

Gomez received a cross from Fred and headed it past Real goalkeeper Nick Rimando to give the United a 2-1 advantage. It was Gomez's seventh tally of the season.

"It was a play where we pass the ball around a little bit and luckily Fred gave an accurate pass and all I needed to do was head it back to the goal," Gomez said through an interpreter. "Fred is a really important player for us. Without even looking at each other, we know which play we can run."

Gomez set up the first United goal, sending a pass to Luciano Emilio that was headed into the goal to give the United a 1-0 lead in the 16th minute. Emilio has an MLS-leading 19 goals this year.

Emilio was named Major League Soccer's Player of the Week on Monday, following his back-to-back two-goal performances. Emilio, the leading candidate for MLS Most Valuable Player honors, has earned league player-of-the-week honors three times this season, a first for D.C. United.

Raul Diaz Arce holds D.C. United's single-season record for goals scored with 23. With 19 goals in 25 games, Emilio is on pace to tally 22, which would leave him with the second most in team history.

RSL answered in the 32nd minute when Kyle Beckerman scored his second goal of the season, blasting a right-foot shot from 20 yards out past United goalkeeper Troy Perkins to tie the score at 1-1.

"We talked about Kyle coming through - he can make those shots," D.C. United defender Boswell said. "He pulled off a quick one and Troy wasn't able to get it. That was something we had talked about, so we didn't put together the best performance tonight. In fact, it was pretty bad, I thought, but the important thing is the result.

"If we can keep getting these results, it doesn't really matter how we get them. Just keep taking them and keep on trucking. Right now, the team is doing pretty well."

The United (15-6-4, 49 points), who will get a much-needed 10-day break, are 7-0-1 in their last eight contests as they sit on top of the Eastern Conference standings.

"On the day, it was bad all the way around," United coach Tom Soehn said. "Having said that, there are a lot of situations where you don't play well and you don't get the result, so I still give our guys credit that they did what it took to win and get our three points and keep our streak alive.

"We found a way to win and it wasn't pretty," added Soehn, who emphasized that the referees set the tone early. "You have to play with what's dealt and control what you can control."

Perkins made seven saves to help preserve the United victory. He stopped Andy Williams' attempt in stoppage time to ensure the club's unbeaten streak would continue.

The United played without Jaime Moreno, one of their team captains, who was on international duty with the Bolivian National Team.

Real (4-13-6, 18 points) remains in fifth place in the Western Conference standings, losing four of its last six contests. With the loss, RSL was eliminated from playoff contention.