United get the better of Crew

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The Independent Online

United 2, Crew 1

United 2, Crew 1

Jaime Moreno scored his third goal in playoffs and Ben Olsen scored his first on Sunday as DC United beat the Columbus Crew 2-1 in the first game of their best-of-3 series for the Eastern Conference title.

Game 2 is next Sunday in Columbus, Ohio, as Washington seeks its fourth straight conference title.

The United took the lead in the 15th minute when Moreno tapped home a close range shot after Eddie Pope had flicked on a header from Marco Etcheverry's corner kick.

The Crew, now 0-12 in their history at RFK Stadium, only managed one shot on goal in the first half.

The United had a scoring chance in the 68th minute foiled when Crew goaltender Mark Dougherty stopped Moreno as he was sliding in for what seemed to be a sure goal from two yards out.

The second goal came in the 72nd minute when Ben Olsen fired in a low left-footer from 12 yards after receiving John Maessner's cross from the left flank.

After a late offensive surge, Columbus finally got on board in the 82nd minute. Brian McBride headed a pass from Stern John into the path of Jeff Cunningham who shot past Tom Presthus from 10 yards out. It was Cunningham's second postseason goal.

This is the third straight year United and the Crew have met in the conference finals. United swept the series in 1997 and beat the Crew in three games last year.

Dougherty made six saves and Presthus had four.

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Galaxy 2, Burn 1

In Pasadena, California, Ezra Hendrickson scored with 40 seconds left as the Los Angeles Galaxy defeated the Dallas Burn 2-1 Sunday to take a 1-0 lead in their best-of-3 Major League Soccer Western Conference final series.

Simon Elliott, inserted with 17 minutes to play, sent a pass to Hendrickson, who drove toward the goal on the right wing. His shot deflected off Dallas midfielder Brian Haynes and trickled past goalkeeper Matt Jordan into the net.

Mauricio Cienfuegos gave Los Angeles a 1-0 lead in the 39th minute when he put a free kick just inside the left goalpost, over the head of 5-foot-8 midfielder Oscar Pareja and out of Jordan's reach. The Galaxy was awarded the free kick after Jason Kreis fouled Roy Myers just to the left of the penalty area, 10 yards (9 meters) from the goal.

Dallas tied the score with 15 minutes to play when Ariel Graziani moved past two Galaxy defenders to take Paul Broome's pass, then put a shot past goalkeeper Kevin Hartman from 10 yards (9 meters) out. The goal was Graziani's third in four playoff games.

Los Angeles outshot Dallas 16-12, including 6-5 in shots on goal. Hartman and Jordan both made four saves.

Game 2 of the series will be played next Sunday in Dallas. A third game, if necessary, would be played Nov. 11 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

The winner will face the winner of the D.C. United-Columbus Crew Eastern Conference final in MLS Cup '99 on 21 November at Foxboro, Massachusetts.

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