August 10, 2006

DC United hold Real Madrid in Seattle friendly

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Spain's Real Madrid kicked off its
pre-season tour of the United States with a 1-1 draw against
leading Major League Soccer side D.C. United on Wednesday.

A capacity crowd of 66,830 at Seattle's Quest Field saw DC
United provide a stern test for the Primera Liga side, despite
falling behind to an Antonio Cassano goal in the 22nd minute.

The Italian's early near-post strike, finished neatly after
he was found by Brazilian left back Roberto Carlos, was
canceled out three minutes later when Alecko Eskandarian
slotted the ball past Spanish international keeper Iker

Eskandarian was put through by Freddy Adu, after a darting
run by the talented 17-year-old put the Spanish side's defense
on the back foot.

Madrid fielded all three of their major off-season signings
with Brazilian midfielder Emerson and Dutch striker Ruud Van
Nistelrooy in the starting line-up, while Italian defender
Fabio Cannavaro came on as a halftime substitute.

"Based on the performance we gave and my own performance, I
think there is a lot there to build on," Van Nistelrooy told
reporters after the match.

Madrid almost added a second goal after the break when D.C.
United keeper Troy Perkins turned aside a booming free kick
from Roberto Carlos that spilled out to Emerson, whose
deflected shot grazed the post.

D.C. United's Adu said he wanted to show that U.S. soccer
could compete with the world's major stars even if it could not
win over home support.

"The crowd cheered a little too much for the other team,"
joked Adu after the game. "I thought this was America."

Madrid's next match is against Real Salt Lake in Utah on
Saturday before the side returns to Spain to compete in the
Ramon de Carranza Cup.