- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 4, 2004

D.C. United can call off its search for a dynamic goalscorer. Turns out he has been there all season.

Alecko Eskandarian scored two goals, giving him five in his last three games, as United rode a record-tying offensive output to a 6-2 win over the MetroStars before 16,177 at RFK Stadium last night.

United was down 1-0 in the 18th minute, and goalie Troy Perkins didn’t register a save. But the offense, led by Eskandarian, was more than enough to lead the team to victory.

The team tried out two strikers last week, but it appears the 21-year-old has emerged as the answer to United’s offensive woes. He now has six goals, which leads the team and is tied for second in MLS.

“We have a lot of dangerous players on this team,” Eskandarian said. “Even though we didn’t play particularly well, we just finished our chances.”

The six goals tied a franchise record, matching the team’s output against Dallas on July7, 1996. D.C. had scored only six goals in its previous six league games.

Both Dema Kovalenko and Jaime Moreno registered two assists. Moreno finished with four points, giving him a team-high 14 for the season.

The win extended United’s unbeaten streak to four games — five if a 2-0 win over the Rochester Rhinos in a June 23 friendly is counted. The recent run catapulted D.C. United into first place in the Eastern Conference with 20 points.

“Right now, we’re the best team in the Eastern Conference,” coach Peter Nowak said. “We have to keep our feet on the ground, but we’re not going to give up first place so easily right now.”

Freddy Adu entered the game in the 82nd minute, playing a career-low eight minutes and earning a yellow card less than 10 seconds after he came on. But the 15-year-old wasn’t complaining after this week’s match.

“It was a great win. Obviously, I didn’t have anything to do with it,” he said. “There’s nothing to be mad about. We just have to carry that on.”

The MetroStars scored in the 18th minute when midfielder Amado Guevara froze United’s defense before lobbing a 20-yard pass to Eddie Gaven. United thought Gaven was offside, and several defenders expected play to stop. After Perkins charged toward him, Gaven chipped an easy ball from the edge of the box to give the MetroStars a 1-0 lead.

But United responded with a three-goal barrage in 12 minutes. It started when defender Ryan Nelsen scored on a header off Bobby Convey’s free kick in the 30th minute. Nelsen, who had taken just two shots this year, got over MetroStars defender Jeff Parke to redirect the ball.

D.C. went up 2-1 in the 37th minute when Moreno knocked the ball away from MetroStars keeper Jonny Walker and beat him to the net. Minutes later, Moreno made a 15-yard run and passed to Kovalenko, who fired a perfect cross to Eskandarian. The forward connected with a powerful right-foot volley to the right post.

United extended its lead to 4-1 in the 57th minute with the help of a questionable call. One minute after he received a yellow card, Earnie Stewart broke free of the MetroStars’ defense just as Kovalenko lobbed a ball toward the box. Stewart was close to being offside, but when no call was made, he stalked Walker before grounding a shot through the keeper’s legs.

The MetroStars pulled within two three minutes later when Fabian Taylor — who scored twice in the first meeting between the teams — drilled a left-footer past Perkins. But Moreno and Eskandarian hooked up in the 69th minute on a cross to ice the game for United. Ben Olsen added a free-kick goal in stoppage time to complete the scoring.

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