The El Salvador national team was greeted by throngs of supporters for their friendly against D.C. United at RFK Stadium, but it was the MLS team that dominated the proceedings from start to finish, as a second-half goal by Adam Cristman gave the hosts a deserved 1-0 victory.United dominated possession in the early part of the game, and created their first chance 15 minutes in when Jaime Moreno got to El Salvador’s end-line and cut the ball back for Chris Pontius. The forward’s shot was blocked by a Salvadoran defender, but the rebound found its way to Andy Najar, who smashed his shot high and wide of the target.
The chance seemed to wake the Salvadoran visitors who generated several chances of their own minutes later. Najar received a yellow card for a challenge deep in United’s end, but the ensuing free kick didn’t challenge goalkeeper Troy Perkins. A minute later, Josue OdirFlores struck a shot from long range that went well high of the United goal.
The chances were few and far between for the Cuscatlecos in the first half as they sat behind the ball, apparently content to wait for counter-attacking opportunities. Meanwhile, United was patient in possession and was occasionally able to turn the possession into chances.In the 25th minute, Pontius narrowly missed connecting on a diving header when Clyde Simms drove a low ball across the area. Ten minutes later, Moreno beat his defender several times off the dribble, before earning a free kick in a dangerous position just outside the El Salvador penalty area. Pontius stepped up to take the kick and had his blast saved by El Salvador goalkeeper Dagoberto Portillo.
Several minutes later Najar sent a dangerous cross into the area, where an unmarked Julius James stretched, but was unable to keep his first-time effort down, and it sailed over the goal from point-blank range.
D.C.’s final chance of the half came via a 40-yard free kick effort by Mark Burch, who made his first appearance of the year after undergoing surgery for a fractured sesmoid bone in his right foot in early March. The defender stepped up and blasted the ball toward goal, but Portillo made a diving save to keep the game scoreless heading in to halftime.
United made wholesale changes at the half, and it was the substitute Adam Cristman who put the Black-and-Red in front just six minutes after the break. Kurt Morsink found space down the right wing on a beautiful through ball from guest player Junior Carriero, and sent a low cross into the path of the on-running Cristman, who calmly slotted past Portillo from six yards.
The goal briefly energized the visitors, as they quickly earned two corners, and then a free kick 25 yards from goal. Former United player Eliseo Quintanilla, who came on as a sub at halftime, took the kick and hit the right upright with his effort. That represented the best chance of the game for El Salvador in the end, as they rarely found time and space to threaten the goal.
D.C. controlled most of the rest of the game, and Danny Allsopp almost doubled the lead in the 86th minute when he got free of the defense and struck a low shot from 25 yards out, which beat the keeper but whistled just wide of the left post.
The 1-0 win extends United’s unbeaten run to six games (5-0-1) in all competitions, and keeps the team on the right path following the poor start to the season. The clean sheet was a welcome sight for United’s backline and its second of the 2010 campaign. Next up for D.C. is a tough match-up on the road on June 26 against the Eastern Conference-leading Columbus Crew.
DC -- Adam Cristman 1 (Kurt Morsink) 51'
D.C. United: Troy Perkins (Bill Hamid 46'); Devon McTavish (Barry Rice 61'), Dejan Jakovic (Juan Peña 46'), Julius James, Marc Burch (Domenic Mediate 61'); Andy Najar, Kurt Morsink, Clyde Simms (Junior Carreiro 46', Nigel White 83'), Chris Pontius (Thabiso Khumalo 69'); Luciano Emilio (Adam Cristman 46'), Jaime Moreno (Danny Allsopp 46')
Subs not used: None
El Salvador: Dagoberto Portillo; Jose Mardoqueo Henriquez, Manuel Salazar, Victor Turcios; Dennis Alas, Carlos Monteagudo (Mark Blanco 63'), Juan Carlos Moscoso (Danny Torres 76'), Andres Flores (Jaime Alas 89'), Diego Chavarria (Eliseo Quintanilla 46'), Josue Odir Flores; Rodolfo Zelaya
Subs not used: Javier Gomez, Henry Escobar, Moises Garcia, Milton Molina
Referee: Michael Donovan
Referee's Assistants: Ron Harnage, Dean Fairweather
4th Official: Terrence Andrews
Weather: Clear and 88 degrees