- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 1, 2004

D.C. United’s Freddy Adu proved he belonged in his first MLS All-Star Game, but Amado Guevara stole the show.

The MetroStars’ Guevara reinforced the idea that he’s the best player in Major League Soccer on a oppressively hot day. He scored two goals and added an assist to lead the East to a 3-2 victory over the West in the ninth MLS All-Star Game before 21,378 at RFK Stadium.

“If he’s not the best, he’s one of the best,” Adu said of Guevara. “I haven’t seen a lot of his games, but what he showed me out there today, oh my goodness, this guy is good.”

Guevara, the MLS scoring leader with 25 points, was named MVP after displaying his impressive skills as a central playmaker.

“I would love to have this kind of player on my team,” said D.C. United coach Peter Nowak, who coached the East yesterday. “I really enjoy working with him and watching him. Every single pass makes sense, I love these kind of players.”

Adu, meanwhile, entered the game at the start of the second half for United teammate Jaime Moreno. His presence at the game had been questioned after he was selected to participate by MLS commissioner Don Garber, but yesterday the 15-year-old displayed his ball skills to the delight of the home crowd.

Adu took only two shots in the game — one on goal — but validated Garber’s decision to select him even though he has just two goals and one assist this season for United.

“I thought I played great,” Adu said. “It was fun. It was hot. This game was kind of dull, and I just felt that I had to do something to keep the fans a little bit involved and going. I got the ball and started doing some tricks and all that stuff, and everything turned out great.”

After a sluggish opening, Guevara gave the match instant life with two goals in two minutes. He scored the first in the 20th minute when Chicago Fire forward Damani Ralph played a square pass to the top of the box.

As Guevara collected the ball 20 yards from goal, he did a 180-degree turn, one-touched the ball and unloaded a left-footed blast to the lower left corner that West defender Jeff Agoos only partially deflected for a 1-0 East lead.

Two minutes later, Guevara converted a penalty kick after West midfielder Ronnie O’Brien was whistled for bringing down Dema Kovalenko in the box.

Arguably the best goal of the game was a header in the 43rd minute by San Jose Earthquakes forward Brian Ching. Ching, who is tied for first in MLS with Los Angeles Galaxy striker Carlos Ruiz with 10 goals, finished a long cross from Earthquakes teammate Richard Mulrooney for the West’s first score.

Adu and his United teammates played major roles in the East’s third goal. Adu played a short ball through the middle to midfielder Shalrie Joseph. Joseph, who plays for the New England Revolution, sent the ball on the right to Guevara, who in turn rolled the ball to United forward Alecko Eskandarian. Eskandarian, making his first All-Star Game appearance, unloaded a 12-yard blast to the left corner to give the East a 3-1 lead.

West forward Jason Kreis, MLS’ all-time leader with 91 goals, slammed a 20-yard rocket off the right post in the 89th minute for the West’s second goal.

Note — In a shortened 50-minute exhibition match between MLS World Legends and 16 members of the 1994 U.S. World Cup roster (dubbed MLS USA Legends), a late equalizer by former Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Mauricio Cienfuegos salvaged a 2-2 tie for the World Legends.

The USA Legends took a 2-0 first-half lead on goals by Eric Wynalda and Hugo Perez. Former United star Raul Diaz Arce scored the World Legends’ first goal in the 37th minute.

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