D.C. United's Eskandarian wins Honda MLS Player of the Week
NEW YORK - D.C. United forward Alecko Eskandarian was selected as the Honda MLS Player of the Week by the Professional Soccer Reporters Association (PSRA) for the week ending Sept. 12 (Week 24), marking the second time in 2004 (Week 12) that he has received the honor. The second-year player returned to action for United on Saturday after a two-game absence due to an injury and scored the first two goals in United's 3-0 win over the Dallas Burn on Saturday. Saturday's was Eskandarian's third game of the year in which he has scored more than one goal and his total of nine tallies on the season rank as third highest in the league.
With the game seemingly heading to a scoreless tie at the half, Eskandarian smacked his eighth goal of the year into an empty net to give United the lead. United forward Jaime Moreno chested down a service into the box and laid a delicate pass into Ben Olsen's path as he charged to the endline, drawing out Dallas goalkeeper Jeff Cassar. Olsen's cutback was dummied by midfielder Christian Gomez, and Eskandarian was there to slot it home.
"I have a role on this team and my role is to be dangerous up front, help to create chances and create problems for the other team's defense," Eskandarian said after the game. "I just try to fill my role on this team and when I have guys like Jaime [Moreno], who can find me when I make these runs, it makes it really easy for me."
Despite playing a man down, the Dallas defense did its best to prevent United from breaking the game open. However, Eskandarian and Moreno combined to clinch the victory in the 82nd minute. Moreno won the ball from defender Milton Reyes right in front of the Burn bench, and carried it into the box before dropping the ball back to the top of the area. Eskandarian was perfectly set up on his preferred left foot and made no mistake, stroking home a confident finish that Cassar tipped but could not stop.
"It's crunch time now and we have to win these games," Eskandarian added. "We're a better team than our record shows and we're on a mission to prove it. We're hoping to finish the season strong and head into the playoffs with a lot of confidence."
In Eskandarian's brief 43-game MLS career, D.C. United is 6-0-2 when the 22-year old scores - outscoring opponents 24-9 in those games.
Eskandarian, the 2003 No. 1 overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft, joins teammate Jaime Moreno, San Jose Earthquakes netminder Pat Onstad, and Los Angeles Galaxy forward Jovan Kirovski as two-time winners of the award in 2004. Moreno finished a close second in the voting for this week's honor, followed again by Colorado Rapids goalkeeper Joe Cannon. The Honda Major League Soccer Player of the Week is selected every week throughout the MLS regular season by a panel of journalists from the Professional Soccer Reporters Association (PSRA).
2004 PLAYER OF THE WEEK WINNER
Week 1: Jaime Moreno (D.C. United)
Week 2: Pat Onstad (San Jose Earthquakes)
Week 3: Fabian Taylor (MetroStars)
Week 4: Carlos Ruiz (Los Angeles Galaxy)
Week 5: Henry Ring (Chicago Fire)
Week 6: Jovan Kirovski (Los Angeles Galaxy)
Week 7: Pat Onstad (San Jose Earthquakes)
Week 8: Alejandro Moreno (Los Angeles Galaxy)
Week 9: Jovan Kirovski (Los Angeles Galaxy)
Week 10: Pat Noonan (New England Revolution)
Week 11: Jeff Cunningham (Columbus Crew)
Week 12: Alecko Eskandarian (D.C. United)
Week 13: Amado Guevara (MetroStars)
Week 14: Davy Arnaud (Kansas City Wizards)
Week 15: Jeff Cassar (Dallas Burn)
Week 16: Brian Ching (San Jose Earthquakes)
Week 17: Brad Davis (Dallas Burn)
Week 18: Edson Buddle (Columbus Crew)
Week 19: Brian Mullan (San Jose Earthquakes)
Week 20: Jaime Moreno (D.C. United)
Week 21: Kyle Martino (Columbus Crew)
Week 22: Ronnie O'Brien (Dallas Burn)
Week 23: Ross Paule (Columbus Crew)
Week 24: Alecko Eskandarian (D.C. United)