WASHINGTON (AP) -- Nick Rimando usually has to run the length of
the field to celebrate a game-winner. This time, the happy mob came
Goalkeeper Rimando stopped Clint Dempsey's shootout kick, and
D.C. United rode Brian Carroll's successful boot moments earlier to
a 4-3 victory Saturday night over the New England Revolution and
advanced to the MLS Cup.
It was the first Major League Soccer game ever decided by
``The goal-scorers usually get the good celebration - the run
and jump and all,'' Rimando said. ``It was fun for me to do that.''
Eastern Conference champion United will play Western Conference
winner Kansas City for the title on Nov. 14 in Carson, Calif.
``They made me proud again,'' coach Peter Nowak said.
``Everybody was (losing) their legs - it was 120 minutes, a hard
game for both sides.''
The teams were tied at 3 after 90 minutes of regulation and two
15-minute sudden-death overtimes, forcing the game to alternating
The teams were tied at three kicks apiece after five shooters.
Carroll, United's sixth shooter, drove a shot high and to the left,
out of the reach of Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis.
Rimando then saved Dempsey's try to preserve the win and give
United the conference championship. That sent an RFK Stadium crowd
of 21,101 into a frenzy.
Rimando had an inkling that Dempsey would try to score inside
the right post.
``He kind of showed me where he was going,'' Rimando said. ``His
body language before the shot, his position told me.''
United returns to the championship game for the first time since
1999. United won the MLS title in 1996, 1998 and 1999.
New England, which reached the conference title game despite
finishing tied for the worst regular season record, saw its magical
ride end one game short of a chance for an improbable MLS crown.
Despite the absence of two key United defenders -- Dema Kovalenko
and Ryan Nelsen missed the game due to suspensions for accumulating
too many yellow cards -- the Revolution couldn't combat United's
speed and playmaking.
``They get guys running through,'' New England coach Steve Nicol
said. ``Guys running are very hard to handle. When a team does
something well, it's not easy to stop.''
Alecko Eskandarian, Jaime Moreno and Christian Gomez scored
regulation-time goals for United.
Taylor Twellman, Steve Ralston and Pat Noonan netted for New
United grabbed a 1-0 lead on a left-side cross by Eskandarian in
the 11th minute.
Twellman scored in the 17th minute, getting a step on defender
Ezra Hendrickson 10 yards from the goal and looping a right-footed
shot past Rimando.
United regained the lead about four minutes later when Moreno,
working from a step inside the penalty area on the left wing, cut
an arcing shot inside the right post before Reis could react.
A handball call against Carroll at the left edge of the penalty
area set up Ralston's penalty kick, which tied the game in the 44th
minute. Ralston drove a shot that ricocheted off the left post, off
Rimando and in.
Gomez, making a run down the left wing, headed in Earnie
Stewart's cross from the right wing in the 67th minute for a 3-2
United lead. Freddie Adu replaced Gomez two minutes later.
But Noonan tied it in the 85th minute, heading in a corner kick
from Ralston after outleaping Rimando.
Also scoring in the shootout for United were Santino Quaranta,
Adu and Eskandarian. For New England, it was Reis, Shalrie Joseph