Olsen's late goal gives DC tie with Revs

By Charles Boehm / MLSnet.comWASHINGTON -- Ben Olsen staged his own personal late show on Saturday night, producing an improbable stoppage-time header to rescue a 1-1 draw for D.C. United against the New England Revolution at RFK Stadium.After United dominated possession all night only to surrender a 50th-minute goal from Shalrie Joseph against the run of play, it looked like Steve Nicol's injury-hit Revs would steal all three points with a canny defensive display. But D.C.'s heart and soul delivered the goods for his team, muscling past Wells Thompson to meet a Jaime Moreno free-kick delivery in the dying moments.With the assist, Moreno became the first player in Major League Soccer history to reach 100 career goals and 100 career assists. Moreno is the league's all-time leading goalscorer with 122, eight ahead of Chivas USA striker Ante Razov.United continued with the 3-5-2 formation they've used for most of 2009, with Olsen returning to the heart of midfield after missing last week's trip to Salt Lake City, while Moreno stepped into the first XI for just the second time this year as rookie Chris Pontius moved out to the right wing.On the other side, Nicol welcomed Steve Ralston back to the fold as the MLS original earned his first start of the young season, although the Revs coach kept faith in young goalkeeper Brad Knighton as incumbent netminder Matt Reis remained on the bench with knee inflammation.United probed the New England defense early on but did not carve out a clear-cut chance until the 19th minute, when left winger Rodney Wallace came within inches of capping an intricate buildup with a low centering pass that flashed across the face of goal and was very nearly met at the far post by a sliding Christian Gomez.Minutes later Olsen tested Knighton with a sharply hit drive from distance, and the 25-year-old 'keeper was well-positioned for a fingertips grab, only to nearly spill the ball on his way down as Luciano Emilio lurked nearby.Half an hour in, the visitors threatened on Jeff Larentowicz's long-range free kick, which took a tricky deflection on its way into the penalty area but was nonetheless gloved cleanly by D.C. goalkeeper Louis Crayton.United once again came agonizingly close to drawing first blood in the 35th minute. Wallace's dipping left-wing cross into the box deflected off the head of Revs defender Amaechi Igwe, caromed off Moreno and fell for Gomez, who flicked a quick shot that Knighton could only parry -- but Igwe arrived on the doorstep to lump clear in the nick of time.With eight shots, six corner kicks and the lion's share of possession, United had dominated the first 45 minutes. Yet head coach Tom Soehn signaled his discontent with two changes to open the second stanza, bringing on Santino Quaranta and Andrew Jacobson in place of Marc Burch and Clyde Simms.But it was the Revolution who seized the early initiative -- and the lead -- in the 50th minute. Ralston was the mastermind, exchanging passes with Wells Thompson deep in United's right corner before lofting a tantalizing cross to the far post, where Joseph barged past Jacobson to beat Crayton with a soft header for a 1-0 advantage.The Black-and-Red responded quickly, with Moreno setting up Quaranta for a low cross that caused havoc in the Revs' box as first Emilio, then Gomez saw fleeting glimpses of goal snatched away. The ball fell to Pontius, who froze Thompson with a quick shimmy and looked sure to score, only to blast his shot high and wide from eight yards out.Moreno spurned an even more glorious chance mere moments later, when he timed his run to meet Gomez's cross at the far post, only to fire a first-timer right at Knighton with the goal at his mercy.Then Gomez cued up Pontius for another clear look inside the box, but the rookie was again wasteful with a shot towards the near upper corner that sailed well wide of the target.Moreno soon pulled up lame, clutching his thigh and gesturing towards the bench, but Soehn had already used his final substitution to bring Fred on in place of Gomez, so D.C.'s captain had little choice but to soldier on.Emilio showed admirable hustle in chasing down Quaranta's hopeful boot forward in the 70th minute and was nearly rewarded as the ball sat up short of the Revs box, leaving Knighton in no man's land. Goalkeeper and striker collided, but defender Jay Heaps got to the loose ball first and rescued his teammate with a timely clearance.Frustrated by their luckless evening, the home side grew increasingly frantic as time wound down, but their guests sat deep and fended off wave after wave of pressure, with Knighton showing impressive composure in dealing with United's shots and crosses.But D.C. finally broke through deep in stoppage time, grabbing a sensational equalizer. Fred won a free kick near the left side of the Revs box, allowing Moreno to curl an excellent set-piece delivery to the back post where Olsen, despite close marking from Thompson, got his head on the ball and watched in delight as it deflected off second-half sub Pat Phelan and over the goal line to level matters at 1-1.Olsen and Thompson had been jousting -- both physically and verbally -- all night and the United veteran could not resist a final bit of jawing in his younger rival's direction just before he was mobbed by his teammates.As RFK exploded in celebration, Knighton was clearly distraught by the stunning turn of events and he was nearly beaten again as Fred cracked a dipping shot just inches wide of the right post, but Jair Marrufo blew the final whistle seconds later and the Black-and-Red had to settle for a hard-earned home draw.New England Revolution (2-0-2) vs. D.C. United (1-1-3) April 17, 2009 -- RFK Stadium Scoring Summary: NE -- Shalrie Joseph 1 (Steve Ralston 1, Wells Thompson 1) 50DC -- Ben Olsen 1 (Jaime Moreno 1) 91+New England Revolution -- Brad Knighton, Jay Heaps, Darrius Barnes, Amaechi Igwe, Chris Tierney, Sainey Nyassi, Shalrie Joseph, Jeff Larentowicz (Pat Phelan 87), Wells Thompson, Kenny Mansally (Kheli Dube 62), Steve Ralston,Substitutes Not Used: Stephane Assengue, Matt Reis, Rob Valentino, Michael VideiraD.C. United -- Louis Crayton, Bryan Namoff, Dejan Jakovic, Marc Burch (Santino Quaranta 46), Chris Pontius, Christian Gomez (Fred 60), Ben Olsen, Clyde Simms (Andrew Jacobson 46), Rodney Wallace, Luciano Emilio, Jaime Moreno,Substitutes Not Used: Milos Kocic, Devon McTavish, Ange N'Silu, Anthony PetersMisconduct Summary: NE -- Wells Thompson (caution; Reckless Tackle) 74DC -- Ben Olsen (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 74NE -- Shalrie Joseph (caution; Tactical Foul) 92+Referee: Jair MarrufoReferee's Assistants: Craig Lowry; Nate Clement4th official: Mark GeigerTime of game: 1:48Attendance: 14,441Weather: Clear -and- 71 degrees