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United and Galaxy draw up zeros

WASHINGTON -- D.C. United were unable to brighten their off-color summer on Saturday night, notching their 11th draw of the year in a scoreless deadlock with the Los Angeles Galaxy that runs their winless streak to four games in league play and five games overall.Despite no shortage of possession and decent scoring chances, the Black-and-Red lacked the killer touch around the Galaxy goal and as a result will have to remain outside the MLS playoff picture for at least another week. The Galaxy finished a two-game venture to Eastern Conference grounds with a win and a draw, maintaining a firm hold on second place in the West.With both teams at or near full strength, L.A. boss Bruce Arena and D.C. assistant Chad Ashton - deputizing for an ailing Tom Soehn - fielded first-choice lineups in their customary alignments (4-4-2 and 3-5-2, respectively). David Beckham returned to the Galaxy midfield following a one-game red card suspension while Ben Olsen captained the home side after missing Unitedís last league contest due to yellow card accumulation, as Jaime Moreno was left on the substitutesí bench. Massive thunderstorms had already soaked the RFK pitch before pregame warmups and a steady rain continued to fall as the match kicked off, making life difficult for defenders on both sides as the ball skipped and skidded unpredictably.Floating out to the right touchline, Beckham bounced a teasing angled cross into the D.C. penalty box in the fifth minute, forcing goalkeeper Josh Wicks to race out and punch clear with several white jerseys lurking nearby.Two minutes later Luciano Emilio seemed to have put United in front as he slotted past Donovan Ricketts to cap a dynamic run by Fred, but the assistant refereeís flag had gone up for offside - a decision replays showed to be an exceedingly tight call. Referee Mark Geiger further displeased the noisy home fans when he gave Olsen the gameís first booking for upending Beckham near midfield. Yet Unitedís inspirational veteran continued to hound the Englishman at every opportunity, working hard to limit his time on the ball. Olsen's savvy helped D.C. carve out a slight advantage in the midfield battle as the first half wore on. But the home team struggled to get numbers forward into the Galaxy box until the 38th minute, when L.A.ís inability to clear a Christian Gomez corner kick led to a clear chance for Santino Quaranta, whose sizzling drive towards the near upper corner of the net drew a sharp parry from Ricketts. Donovan had been quiet to this point but his counterattacking nous posed a constant danger to the Black-and-Red, as he proved with a menacing run at Marc Burch that gave Eddie Lewis a good look at goal from the top of the United box - but the former U.S. international's bid was denied by Bryan Namoffís block.Seconds later Rodney Wallace broke free down the D.C. left and curled a low cross into Emilio's path, but the Brazilian hammered his sliding first-timer just wide of the target. Damp humidity had replaced the rain by the time the second half kicked off and with the match still delicately poised at 0-0, Ashton soon made the gameís first substitution, bringing Moreno on in place of Gomez. United's Bolivian maestro tucked in behind Emilio and Quaranta and began probing for seams in the L.A. back line. Morenoís craftiness quickly created chances for both strikers, with Emilio just missing out on a near-post delivery and Quaranta cuffing a left-footed shot high and wide of Ricketts net. The league's all-time leading scorer then produced a gaudy bit of skill just shy of the hour mark, making light work of a Galaxy double-team at the edge of the area with a cheeky chop that briefly left him a clear path to goal - only to have his run disrupted by Gregg Berhalter. Controversy erupted in the 66th minute when Quaranta lofted in a far-post cross that Emilio chested down past Todd Dunivant. The nimble first touch left the L.A. left back exposed in the shadow of the goal, and though Dunivant looked to have pushed Emilio off-balance as the two moved to the ball, Geiger waved play on. Chris Pontius replaced Olsen as United shuffled their midfield and the rookie tested Ricketts with a goalbound header off Fredís cross in the 73rd minute, but his effort lacked the power to trouble the tall Jamaican netminder. But the game picked up momentum as both sides hunted for a late winner. Ranging deep into enemy territory, Dunivant saw a near-post shot saved by Wicks, and L.A. targetman Alan Gordon - who had entered in place of Jovan Kirovski - snapped a sharp header on frame, though Wicks was again perfectly positioned to deny the bid.A scoreless draw clearly suited the Galaxy far more than their out-of-form hosts, and Unitedís frustration grew as they struggled to find the late magic theyíd so often conjured up in the early stages of the season. Geiger's final whistle left D.C. in little better shape than they'd entered the evening, while the Galaxy will fly back to California satisfied with a productive two-game road trip that garnered four points and kept them in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race. Both teams face important conference tests in their next league match Saturday, United traveling to Chicago to face the Fire, while the Galaxy take on Chivas USA in the third SuperClasico of the year. In between, United face their second match in the CONCACAF Champions League, playing host to Mexico's Toluca on Wednesday night.Los Angeles Galaxy (8-4-11) vs. D.C. United (6-5-11) August 22, 2009 -- RFK Stadium

Scoring Summary: Los Angeles Galaxy -- Donovan Ricketts, A.J. DeLaGarza, Gregg Berhalter, Omar Gonzalez, Todd Dunivant, David Beckham, Landon Donovan, Stefani Miglioranzi, Eddie Lewis (Bryan Jordan 85), Jovan Kirovski (Chris Klein 65), Mike Magee (Alan Gordon 60),Substitutes Not Used: Chris Birchall, Leonard Griffin, Tony Sanneh, Josh SaundersD.C. United -- Josh Wicks, Bryan Namoff, Dejan Jakovic, Marc Burch, Fred (Andrew Jacobson 83), Christian Gomez (Jaime Moreno 51), Ben Olsen (Chris Pontius 69), Clyde Simms, Rodney Wallace, Luciano Emilio, Santino Quaranta,Substitutes Not Used: Julius James, Avery John, Milos Kocic, Devon McTavishMisconduct Summary:
DC -- Ben Olsen (caution; Reckless Foul) 10LA -- Landon Donovan (caution; Reckless Tackle) 31LA -- Mike Magee (caution; Reckless Tackle) 54DC -- Rodney Wallace (caution; Reckless Foul) 68Referee: Mark GeigerReferee's Assistants: Kermit Quisenberry; Cyril Madukanya4th official: Mark KadlecikTime of game: 1:51Attendance: 22,134Weather: Showers -and- 75 degreesAll statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial