- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 14, 2005

Dema Kovalenko, who broke his foot while jogging in his homeland in the preseason and missed D.C. United’s first five Major League Soccer games, appears back in form.

The feisty Ukrainian midfielder, who played a vital role in D.C. United’s championship run last year, scored his third goal in three games yesterday as United beat Chivas USA 3-0.

The 16,169 spectators who braved the Code Red air quality at RFK Stadium also saw Kovalenko assist on Jamil Walker’s goal. Santino Quaranta added a goal as United posted its third consecutive three-goal game.

“Absolutely fabulous,” coach Peter Nowak said of Kovalenko’s performance as United stretched its unbeaten streak to six games.

It was Chivas’ first visit to RFK, and the defending MLS champions showed the expansion club no mercy in the 94-degree heat.

Since the All-Star break, United (11-6-5, 38 points) has been unstoppable, earning nine points from three wins as it seeks to secure a playoff spot. Goalie Nick Rimando also recorded his 10th shutout yesterday.

Playing with seven Mexicans in its starting lineup, Chivas (3-17-3, 12 points) showed positive signs early on, with Antonio Martinez and Francisco Mendoza causing United some scares. Then in the 27th minute, United was forced to make an early substitution with Clyde Simms replacing veteran midfielder Ben Olsen, who suffered a hip injury.

United had a scoring chance in the 32nd minute when Walker, playing in place of suspended Jaime Moreno, had a shot saved by goalie Brad Guzan after Kovalenko had set him up.

Kovalenko also fed another nice pass to Quaranta, but the U.S. national team call-up failed in his attempt.

Quaranta made sure he didn’t miss when he gave United a 1-0 lead in the 41st minute. The goal was manufactured by central defender Bobby Boswell, who had the game-winner in Wednesday’s 3-0 victory against the MetroStars.

Running from deep in his own area at the Chivas defense, Boswell played a perfect give-and-go with Christian Gomez, finishing with a pass for Quaranta to tap the ball home from six yards for his third goal of the season.

Before Chivas could reorganize, United punished the struggling Los Angeles-based team again two minutes later. Kovalenko, threaded a perfect pass on the left flank to the onrushing Walker, who placed the ball past Guzan from 12 yards out for his first goal with the club to make it 2-0.

Kovalenko got his well-earned goal in the 64th minute when he ran on to Walker’s header and struck a shot from a narrow angle inside the 18-yard box to make it 3-0.

“My ankle took a while to heal, and I’m not thinking about it so much, but this is a good time for me,” Kovalenko said. “I could have had more goals, but one is enough.”

John Wilson replaced Gomez in the 57th minute, while Matt Nickell came in for Quaranta with seven minutes left.

“It doesn’t matter who scores, but the boss upstairs said it was my turn today,” Kovalenko said.

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