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Burpo's Miscue Ends Chivas' Unbeaten Streak

Goalkeeper can't stop a low shot as D.C. United wins, 2-1, to put an end to seven-game run.

September 04, 2006|Grahame L. Jones | Times Staff Writer

Goalkeeper Preston Burpo has had enough good games this season and made enough top-drawer saves to keep Chivas USA in the hunt for a Major League Soccer playoff spot.

Sunday was not one of those games.

Burpo was beaten on a free kick by Argentine midfielder Christian Gomez a mere 2 minutes 37 seconds into the game and then had a low shot by Gomez slip beneath him half an hour later as D.C. United defeated Chivas, 2-1, at the Home Depot Center.

The first goal was due more to Gomez's skill in striking the ball than to any error by Burpo. The second was another matter.

Asked how he had allowed the shot to squirt beneath his low dive to the right, Burpo said tersely, "Not today, man," and strode out of the stadium, fielding no more questions.

It was left to Chivas USA Coach Bob Bradley to sum up the effort that ended his team's seven-game unbeaten streak and saw its record fall to 8-7-10.

"We didn't give ourselves much of a chance because we allowed a goal it seemed like before we even touched the ball," Bradley said.

Gomez's powerfully struck free kick flew over the defensive wall and into the net, giving him his ninth goal of the season, second only to teammate Jaime Moreno's 10.

"He hit it over the wall, the wall jumped, it went over the middle guy," Bradley said. "The goalkeeper's job at that point is still to be protecting the other side. It hooked into the near corner. There's not much you can say."

Chivas responded well to the early setback and tied the score on a Claudio Suarez penalty kick in the 32nd minute after Ante Razov, the second-leading goal scorer in MLS, was fouled in front of the net.

Having gotten back on level terms, Chivas immediately gave the advantage back to D.C. United.

"We committed the kind of mistakes you can't make in a big game when you draw even and you allow them to come right down and score," Bradley said.

"Loco [Juan Pablo Garcia] was coming inside on the right and gave the ball away. They played the ball forward to Gomez. Both Pancho [Francisco Mendoza] and Jesse [Marsch] I thought were in position to take care of him right away, but he spun away from those two and made a great run. Jason [Hernandez] came over and wasn't able to quite do enough."

Gomez's low and angled shot beat Burpo, who subsequently was booed by fans every time he touched the ball.

"I think it's a ball that Burpo saves 999 times out of 1,000," Bradley said. "This one wasn't saved."

Peter Nowak, D.C. United's coach, said Gomez's performance showed why he should be in the running for MLS player of the year. He denied that Burpo's slow reaction made the second goal a bit lucky.

"You can say the same thing about the goal Kaka scored [for Brazil] today against Argentina," Nowak said of a 3-0 exhibition victory in front of 59,032 in London. "It was a great run, he put it where he wanted it. I don't know about the keeper stuff. From my perspective when I was a player, the goal is a goal and it was beautiful."

The victory ended a five-game winless streak for D.C. United (14-3-8).

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grahame.jones@latimes.com

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