Lucio Filomeno’s immediate impact for DC United led to the match-tying penalty by Jaime Moreno in a 2-2 draw with Columbus before a regular season high 22,463 at RFK Stadium.
"I think we came into the game with a great attitude, but we didn’t finish our chances," said United coach Peter Nowak.
Nowak said the hardest part for the team is over.
"The regular season is over, now comes the easy part for the players," Nowak said. "I think I have a pretty good idea who wants to play in the playoffs, who wants to have another ring, another championship.
"It’s always easy," Nowak added about getting the players pumped up for the postseason. "You don’t need to motivate the players. You don’t need to scream and yell from the bench. … Everyone is talking about the playoffs, everyone is talking about being in shape, being in form, how nice it is to get the championship. There’s only one going to get it. Who’s going to be hungry? Who’s going to be focused, concentrate? Only that will matter."
Filomeno, the 25-year old Argentine who came on in the 68th minute for Jamil Walker, was fouled on his first three touches, all coming in his first five minutes of action in a DC United uniform. The third time was a charm, though.
Attempting to get on the end of a Bryan Namoff pass in the box, Filomeno, still recovering from a right knee injury suffered three months ago, was flattened by the Crew’s Jamal Sutton. Referee Terry Vaughn gave United a penalty, and Moreno, with Crew goalkeeper Matt Jordan diving the other way, converted to the left corner for his 16th goal of the season. With the goal, he finished one short of New England’s Taylor Twellman (17), but tied a career-high for goals in a season. Moreno had 16 goals in both 1997 and 1998.
"I tried to stop the ball with my chest," Filomeno said about the play that led to Moreno’s goal. "I saw [Sutton] not so far away; he was there, but I never thought he was going to [foul me]. "I don’t know what part of his body he tried to use. I tried to stop the ball and, after that, continue with the play, but I couldn’t."
Though encouraging that they came from behind twice in the match, United (16-10-6) will need to tighten up defensively if they want to repeat last season’s successful run in winning MLS Cup.
"I’m disappointed in our effort today," said midfielder Dema Kovalenko, who scored United’s first goal just before halftime. "Tight game, but we’ve got to eliminate these mistakes. Like I say, I’m not pointing fingers; as a team, we can’t let these guys get open like this twice. If it happens in the playoffs, that’s it. Season’s over."
Edson Buddle scored twice for Columbus (11-16-5)–one in each half. He took advantage of United defensive miscues on both.
In the 17th minute off a throw-in deep along the right side from the Crew’s Jamal Sutton, Edson Buddle got inside position on central defender Facundo Erpen and, from the top right corner of the six-yard box, popped his header over Rimando and into the left corner for his eighth goal of the season.
"Yeah, I was definitely surprised by it," Rimando said of Sutton’s long throw. "I had no idea he had a long throw. … [Buddle] had a free header, he did well with it and put it over my head. There’s nothing I could do right now about it."
Sutton nearly scored on his own, but his blistering volley in the 28th minute skimmed off the crossbar.
Buddle set up and then scored the go-ahead goal in the 52nd minute. After beating Erpen in the box, he hit the ball from near the endline off Rimando, winning a corner. From the right side, the Crew’s Simon Elliott took the corner, his ball headed to the far post by Chad Marshall. Buddle left United defender Brandon Prideaux in his wake and from close range slammed his shot home.
"[We have to] be prepared on throw-ins, be prepared on kicks," Rimando said. "I think today we weren’t. We had our assignments, we had our marks, we had everything set up, but we were too slow getting there. Two goals came off of set plays. In the playoffs, if you let those goals in, teams are going to put you away like they did."
Rimando did come up big in the 65th minute, diving low to save Chris Henderson.
United, playing with their regular starting lineup in an effort to stay sharp for the playoffs, had plenty first half chances that went awry (14 shots and seven on goal in the first half alone), including three from Moreno. Moreno thought he had a goal in the 12th minute, but he was clearly offside. In the 33rd minute, Moreno shot from the top-left corner of the six-yard box off the head of Columbus goalkeeper Matt Jordan. The Bolivian striker nearly connected on a 40th minute free kick, but his attempt, going for the left corner, skimmed the crossbar and went over.
Jamil Walker had three first half shots that weren’t able to penetrate Jordan, but he had a hand–or rather a head–in the tying goal late in the first half.
Walker headed a cross down at the top of the box toward Ben Olsen. The veteran midfielder backheeled the ball to his left for Dema Kovalenko, who from nine-yards, put a low-left footed shot past Jordan into the right corner. Kovalenko scored for the fourth time this season.
United managed just two second half shots, but one was enough to escape with the tie and head into the postseason, where they will face Chicago in a two-leg, total goal series beginning Friday night (9:00 p.m. ET, Soldier Field). The return leg at RFK Stadium is Sunday afternoon (4:30 p.m. ET).
"We’re ready," Olsen said. "This is behind us. We’re already in. It wasn’t the greatest performance but, again, we put together some good stuff."
Columbus Crew (11-16-5) vs. DC United (16-10-6)
October 15, 2005 — RFK Stadium
CLB — Edson Buddle 8 (Jamal Sutton 1) 17
DCU — Dema Kovalenko 4 (Ben Olsen 4, Jamil Walker 7) 45
CLB — Edson Buddle 9 (Chad Marshall 3, Simon Elliott 11) 52
DCU — Jaime Moreno 16 (penalty kick) 75
Columbus Crew — Matt Jordan, Chad Marshall, Robin Fraser, Mark Schulte (Stephen Armstrong 83), Simon Elliott, Eric Vasquez, Chris Wingert, Chris Henderson (David Testo 85), Jamal Sutton, Edson Buddle, Domenic Mediate (Marcus Storey 84); Substitutes Not Used: Jonny Walker, John Wolyniec
DC United — Nick Rimando, Bryan Namoff, Facundo Erpen, Brandon Prideaux, Dema Kovalenko, Brian Carroll (Freddy Adu 46), Christian Gomez (Clyde Simms 60), Ben Olsen, Joshua Gros, Jaime Moreno, Jamil Walker (Lucio Filomeno 68); Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Boswell, Shawn Kuykendall, Troy Perkins, Santino Quaranta, Nick Van Sicklen, John Wilson
Total Shots: DC United–16 (3 tied with 4); Columbus–9 (Edson Buddle 4)
Shots On Goal: DC United–8 (3 tied with 2); Columbus–5 (Edson Buddle 3)
Fouls: DC United16 (Ben Olsen 5); Columbus–17 (Edson Buddle 3)
Offside: DC United 5 (Jaime Moreno 3); Columbus 2(Edson Buddle 1, Chris Henderson 1)
Corners: DC United–4 (Christian Gomez 3); Columbus–4(Simon Elliott 2, Chris Henderson 2)
Saves: DC United–3 (Nick Rimando 3); Columbus–6 (Matt Jordan 6)
CLB — Mark Schulte (caution; Pushing, Holding) 25
DCU — Dema Kovalenko (caution; Diving, Exaggeration) 57
CLB — Chris Wingert (caution; Pushing, Holding) 62
CLB — Jamal Sutton (caution; Reckless Foul) 80
DCU — Ben Olsen (caution; Reckless Foul) 88
Referee: Terry Vaughn
Referee’s Assistants: Robert Fereday; Bill Dittmar
4th Official: Mark Geiger
Time of Match: 1:51
Weather: Clear -and- 69 degrees