- The Washington Times - Monday, July 28, 2003

FOXBORO, Mass. — Ray Hudson was speechless, which says a lot.

Even the loquacious D.C. United coach, who always seems to have an answer or at least a funny line about his team, couldn’t explain the difference in United’s play from a listless first half to an explosive second half last night against the New England Revolution. Actually, United’s play spoke for itself as it scored four goals — three in stoppage time — to defeat the Revolution 4-2 at Gillette Stadium.

“We could have imploded and you cannot even find the words to describe what a Herculean comeback that is,” said Hudson, whose team heads into the All-Star break out of the Eastern Conference cellar. “It just means so much after everything we’ve went through and it’s against all odds on this one.”

United (5-6-6) fell behind 2-0 just 31 minutes into the game and was still down two goals with seven minutes left.

But then, with much of the 30,912 fans already driving down Route 1, United started it’s improbable comeback.

Eliseo Quintanilla, who entered the match in the 70th minute, easily headed in Marco Etcheverry’s cross at the far post for his first goal of the year in the 83rd minute.

Then Etcheverry, another of Hudson’s second-half changes that paid major dividends, was tripped up by New England defender Daouda Kante in the lower right of the box and referee Marcel Yonan called for a penalty kick.

Quintanilla stepped to the spot and beat Revolution keeper Matt Reis, who guessed correctly, but still couldn’t stop the shot to his left. That tied the game one minute into stoppage time.

Two minutes later Alecko Eskandarian, who entered the match at the half — one of two substitutions at the break — fed a sublime cross to an unmarked Dema Kovalenko at the far post and the Ukrainian beat Reis with a one-time strike.

“It’s a good ball but actually three plays before that I wanted to kill Alecko because he didn’t give me the same ball,” Kovalenko said. “I made a 60-yard run and I didn’t get the ball, he shot it and I wanted to choke him.”

Eskandarian capped the scoring seconds later on a breakaway for United’s third goal in stoppage time.

Taylor Twellman put New England (5-6-7) in front 1-0 in the 26th minute when, after beating D.C. United defender Galin Ivanov, he blasted the ball past a helpless Nick Rimando and into the upper right corner from 18 yards out.

Ivanov was again victimized on Twellman’s second goal five minutes later when Joe-Max Moore beat the Bulgarian to a ball along the end line and Moore sent a cross to the far post. An unmarked Twellman waited patiently for the ball and scored his team-leading 12th goal of the year from six yards out.

“You’re looking down the barrel of a double-barrel shotgun at 2-0 and we could have easily gone the other way and they could have buried us,” said Hudson, who was without starters Earnie Stewart and Bobby Convey, both of whom were on U.S. National team duty. “To claw our way back to level and then to run away winning like that, it’s beyond buoyant for that dressing room.”

In the game that preceded United’s comeback, Javier Saviola scored a pair of first half goals for La Liga powerhouse Barcelona in an exhibition match against Italian giant Juventus. Barcelona won on penalty kicks.

The game which ended 2-2 was then decided in penalty kicks. Carles Puyol’s deciding penalty giving Barcelona a 6-5 advantage.

Fabrizio Miccoli had a goal and an assist a minute apart late in the second half to erase a two-goal deficit for Juventus.

Brazilian superstar Ronaldinho made his Barcelona debut after transferring from Paris St. Germain earlier this month. He played the second half and scored a penalty kick in the shootout for Barcelona which will take on European champions AC Milan at RFK Stadium Wednesday at 8 p.m.


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