Rivals play to draw at Crew Stadium

COLUMBUS -- D.C. United took the lead in the 33rd minute on a Christian Gomez score, but Alejandro Moreno got the equalizer for the Columbus Crew in the 59th minute with the aid of a reserve forward Steven Lenhart, and the teams played to a 1-1 tie Saturday at Crew Stadium.

Lenhart entered at the start of the second half for defender Andy Iro and flicked a cross from Emmanuel Ekpo to an open Moreno, who knocked the pass down before shooting with his left foot from 8 yards.

It was his third goal of the season and first since May 30, to answer the aggressive D.C. attack. United continually flooded the final third and took advantage of a fortunate bounce to take a 1-0 lead in the 33rd minute on the fourth goal of the year by Gomez.

The score came after Crew goalkeeper William Hesmer stopped a strike by Clyde Simms. The rebound went to the right side where Ange N'Silu put it back in play on the opposite side.

Chris Pontius headed the ball into the goal area, and Crew defender Danny O'Rourke tried to clear it with his chest only to see the ball go to the right foot of Gomez for the easy slot past Hesmer, who had 10 saves.

Hesmer made back-to-back saves on Rodney Wallace in the 51st and 52nd to preserve the one-goal deficit before Moreno's goal.

D.C. (5-3-9) dominated the second half and outshot the Crew 14-3 in the opening 33 minutes before Lenhart's attempt went right of goal for the team's first attempt in 19 minutes.

Columbus (5-3-8) was outshot 22-9 overall but extended its regular season home unbeaten streak to 11-0-6, one shy of the league record set by San Jose in 2004-05. Including the playoffs, the Crew are 13-0-6 at home since June 28, 2008. One of those wins came in last year's season finale to knock D.C. out of the playoff spot.

Both teams were missing players because of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. D.C. was lacking Canadian defender Dejan Jakovic, who had started all but one match, and U.S. forward Santino Quaranta, who has two goals and a team-high six assists.

Injuries also robbed D.C. of forwards Jaime Moreno (hamstring) and Luciano Emilio (knee), the club's co-goal leaders with five apiece. With midfielder Fred (abductor strain) not starting, United was missing players with 14 of its league-best 25 goals.

Columbus was healthy, with the exception of the midfielder Adam Moffat (hamstring), but 2008 MLS Defender of the Year Chad Marshall and left winger Robbie Rogers, a First XI selection last year, were with the U.S. squad.

Iro, a teammate of Pontius at UC-Santa Barbara, started in the central defense with sophomore Eric Brunner. Iro went 120 minutes vs. Rochester of USL-1 in a U.S. Open Cup match on Tuesday.

The Crew almost cracked United's five-man midfield in the 12th minute when Guillermo Barros Schelotto flicked a ball at midfield down the left side to Moreno. After Moreno took several dribbles he passed the ball back to Schelotto on a one-touch give-and-go that put Moreno at the top of the penalty area.

The Venezuelan international went into the box and was challenged by a pair of defenders and went down but Moreno was given an unsporting behavior yellow card for diving.

In the 21st, Frankie Hejduk made an overlapping run and after getting the ball from Emmanuel Ekpo his cross to Eddie Gaven was knocked away.

Thabiso Khumalo nearly scored off a broken play in the 27th but Hesmer made a diving save to his left to keep the game scoreless. Khumalo was in the right corner about 20 yards from goal when the ball took several deflections before landing at his feet. He targeted a spot just onside the near post but Hesmer used both hands to parry the shot out of bounds.

Gomez finally beat Hesmer, and 11 minutes later Pontius gained a step on Iro and struck a low ball that Hesmer knocked away as D.C. had six of eight first-half shots on goal.

United are 4-2-7 in the past 13 games after losing 3-0 at Colorado on June 27. They were 0-1-2 to finish a three-game trip. D.C. is idle in league play until playing host to Colorado on July 18 but faces USL-2 Harrisburg in an Open Cup quarterfinal on Tuesday.

Columbus is 5-1-6 over 12 games but had a four-game home winning streak stopped. They travel to Chicago on July 11.

Craig Merz is a contributor to

D.C. United (5-3-9) vs. Columbus Crew (5-3-8)
July 04, 2009 -- Columbus Crew Stadium

Scoring Summary:
DC -- Christian Gomez 4 (unassisted) 33
CLB -- Alejandro Moreno 3 (Steven Lenhart 1, Emmanuel Ekpo 4) 59

D.C. United — Josh Wicks, Bryan Namoff, Marc Burch, Greg Janicki, Rodney Wallace, Ben Olsen, Christian Gomez, Clyde Simms, Chris Pontius, Thabiso Khumalo (Fred 55), Ange N'Silu (Brandon Barklage 86).

Substitutes Not Used: John DiRaimondo, Andrew Jacobson, Avery John, Milos Kocic, Devon McTavish

Chivas USA — William Hesmer, Frankie Hejduk, Eric Brunner, Andy Iro (Steven Lenhart 46), Gino Padula, Eddie Gaven, Brian Carroll, Danny O'Rourke, Emmanuel Ekpo (Kevin Burns 80), Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Alejandro Moreno.

Substitutes Not Used: Jason Garey, Andy Gruenebaum, Stanley Nyazamba, Duncan Oughton, Jed Zayner

  Columbus Crew D.C. United
total shots: 9 (5 tied with 2) 22 (5 tied with 7)
shots on goal: 3 (5 tied with 1) 11 (5 tied with 3)
fouls: 11 (5 tied with 3) 12 (5 tied with 4)
offsides: 3 (5 tied with 1) 1 (5 tied with 1)
corner kicks: 5 (5 tied with 5) 4 (5 tied with 4)
saves: 10 (5 tied with 10) 2 (5 tied with 2)

Misconduct Summary:
CLB -- Alejandro Moreno (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 12
DC -- Ben Olsen (caution; Tactical Foul) 60
CLB -- Emmanuel Ekpo (caution; Tactical Foul) 74
DC -- Ange N'Silu (caution; Reckless Foul) 80
CLB -- Steven Lenhart (caution; Reckless Foul) 92+

Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Referee's Assistants: Chris Strickland; Bill Dittmar
4th official: Mikael Lundqvist
Time of game: 1:50
Attendance: 14,370
Weather: Cloudy -and- 72 degrees

All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial