- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 12, 2004

Jaime Moreno was at his playmaking best, Alecko Eskandarian returned to the lineup and finished emphatically and D.C. United won a soccer game for the first time in a month.

Moreno assisted on all three goals, Eskandarian scored two of them and Freddy Adu added a goal, to lead United to a 3-0 victory over the Dallas Burn before 13,024 yesterday at RFK Stadium.

The win pushed United (7-9-9) into third place in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference standings with five games left in the regular season. The top four finishers in each conference go to the playoffs.

Eskandarian, who missed United’s past two games with a sprained ankle, showed why United made him the top overall pick in last year’s MLS SuperDraft.

“To be honest with you, I don’t think it was one of my best days,” said Eskandarian, who now has nine goals. “Two minutes in, I got nailed in the head, and I don’t know what hit me or anything. It took me a good 10 to 15 minutes to realize that I was in a soccer game. … I just wanted to get myself in good spots and hopefully put a couple of goals away, and it turned out perfect.”

This game had plenty of fireworks. In the second minute, a melee started when United midfielder Dema Kovalenko executed a hard tackle on Burn midfielder Ronnie O’Brien along the sideline. Kovalenko broke O’Brien’s leg last year during a game at RFK, and O’Brien hasn’t forgotten.

Burn defender Carey Talley and midfielder Oscar Pareja charged Kovalenko, throwing punches and shoving United players who tried to intervene. United defender Mike Petke shoved Pareja into Eskandarian. After the situation finally stabilized, referee Ricardo Salazar issued a yellow card only to Petke.

“I’m looking at Pareja charging in there and putting his hands all over everybody and shoving, I came in to get him out of the way and shove him, and I get the yellow card,” Petke said. “I said to the ref that I was just trying to break it up and get him away from our players.”

After 44 minutes of unimaginative soccer, Eskandarian salvaged a dreadful first half with the first goal.

Midfielder Ben Olsen set up the play when he sent a ball to Moreno inside the 18. Moreno chested the pass and then gave the ball back to Olsen. Olsen took the ball to the end line and sent a pass back into the box. United midfielder Christian Gomez let Olsen’s pass go through his legs, which gave Eskandarian a open net from 12 yards out.

“That’s why Jaime is Jaime,” Olsen said. “I thought we didn’t get Jaime the ball enough in dangerous spots at times. We can always do that. That’s the luxury of having Jaime.”

Eskandarian put the game out of reach in the 82nd minute with his second goal. Moreno carried the ball 50 yards down the left flank and then dropped the ball back to Eskandarian who sent a 16-yard, left-footed blast into the upper-left corner.

“I saw him coming, and I just played the ball to him,” Moreno said. “We practiced that all week, and it was a great finish by Alecko.”

One minute later, Adu closed the scoring when Moreno played a long ball to him and the 15-year-old dribbled 30 yards before sliding it under charging goalie Jeff Cassar for his fourth goal of the year.

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