MLS Cup 2004 -- Player by player
including one on Matt Taylor when well-positioned late in the dying moments.
Ryan Nelsen - A commanding performance in the center of the United back three. Continually provided timely interventions in a composed effort.
Mike Petke - Almost completely shut down Wizards striker Davy Arnaud, limiting him to just a single shot over the entire 90 minutes -- and that blazed over the bar. More and more, especially in the second half, Arnaud was forced into his own end to get the ball.
Dema Kovalenko - Early on, slipped inside on a couple of occasions to nearly combine with Gomez on good sequences. His day was then ruined after the break when he was sent off for a deliberate handball on the line as he reached out to deflect Jimmy Conrad's piledriver second chance on a corner.
Brian Carroll - Very effective day in front of the United back three, shut down a lot of the angles for service to the Wizards strike pair. His angled pass led to Eskandarian's and United's first goal.
Ben Olsen - An amazing display of workrate for the veteran midfielder. Covered remarkable acres of ground in his driving midfield role, especially in his teaming with Carroll.
Christian Gomez - Had a number of chances early where he failed to get a quality shot on target, but still caused the Wizards defenders fits, especially as he was allowed to turn and run and the center of the Kansas City defense. Taken off for Josh Gros after Kovalenko was sent off.
Earnie Stewart - A resounding success on United's right flank, continually creating dangerous situations in the opening 45 minutes with his running. After putting a number of quality balls, his low cross created United's third goal when Zotinca turned it into his own goal in front of Eskandarian.
Alecko Eskandarian - Named MLS Cup Honda MVP after his two-goal performance. A tremendous turn to completely seal off center back Nick Garcia created the first, and then despite the controversy, it was hard work that led to a second, as he chased down Jimmy Conrad to force the turnover before a cool finish from just outside the area. Leg cramping a little after the hour forced him off the field.
Jaime Moreno - Seemed always just a little touch away from that magical moment that would prise open the Wizards defense. Suffered four fouls on the day - most on either side - and that final combination was always just almost there. His ability to hold the ball and give his defenders a breather was key as United doggedly held on over the final half hour.
Josh Gros - Came on for the final half hour as United defended in depth to maintain their lead.
Freddy Adu - Replaced Eskandarian for the final 25 minutes and while he didn't create any remarkable chances as his late addition had done in previous playoff matches, his pace and threat was still enough to cause the Wizards some concern.
Brandon Prideaux - A defensive substitution for Earnie Stewart for the final eight minutes.
KANSAS CITY WIZARDS
Bo Oshoniyi - A difficult MLS Cup Final for the veteran. Really left no chance on the first two goals behind Eskandarian's collected finished, he certainly had none on the third when Zotinca turned home the own goal. Credited with two saves.
Alex Zotinca - A tough day marked by the unfortunate own goal off his body, turning Stewart's driven cross inside the near post when it was aimed for Eskandarian just behind him.
Nick Garcia - Left behind on United's equalizer on a terrific turn by Eskandarian, who completely held his angle off while he ran onto Brian Carroll's pass. He and center back partner Conrad often found themselves in the worst possible place -- seeing Eskandarian and Moreno and Gomez running at them at speed with the ball on their feet.
Jimmy Conrad - While he had a tough day in the back, his presence on set pieces in the United box caused some serious difficulty, finally resulting in the Wizards second goal as he twice blasted the ball goalward to see it blocked by a D.C. defender - the second time an intentional handball from Kovalenko.
Jose Burciaga Jr. - His stunning strike gave the Cup Final and the Wizards a dream start, allowed to stride in before ripping a blast inside Rimando's left-hand post from all of 25 years. While he was given a torrid time by Stewart on the flank, he did get forward well and put in some fine crosses in the second half.
Khari Stephenson - A tough day for the young Jamaican, who was substituted for at halftime. Started on the right before switching to the left, he had two shots at goal but neither greatly troubled Rimando.
Diego Gutierrez - Didn't see much of the ball in a position to lead the Wizards break. Booked in the first half for a cynical foul on Moreno in midfield.
Kerry Zavagnin - A strangely off-kilter match for the Wizards midfield linchpin, who seemed to have much of the game bypass him as United's forwards were allowed to run at the K.C. back four.
Jack Jewsbury - Started on the left side of midfield before moving to the right midway through the first half as the Wizards tried to change their fortunes. Substituted for after 66 minutes as Bob Gansler looked for a more lethal attack.
Davy Arnaud - Shut down for most of the match, forced farther and farther away from the United goal to find the ball. After a brief flurry early, had one shot, that off target.
Josh Wolff - Frustrated all afternoon long by United defenders intent on making he and strike partner Wolff make decisions with the ball at their feet, rather than use their pace to run past.
Igor Simutenkov - Didn't have much impact after coming on as a halftime substitution for Stephenson in a wide midfield role.
Matt Taylor - Came on as a 66th-minute substitution as Gansler went to a 3-4-3 scheme, with Wolff underneath Taylor and Arnaud. Had a good chance in stoppage time, but his close range angled shot was easily scooped up by Rimando.
Diego Walsh - Brought on for the final eight minutes as one final throw of the dice in changing the Kansas City attacking options.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.