who came into the match with a four-game goal-scoring streak -- got on the end of a long free kick into the box and had a shot on goal that Perkins knocked onto his crossbar and over the top. On the ensuing set piece, Perkins swatted away a goal-bound header with a great one-handed save. Three minutes later Columbus had another corner that Chad Marshall got on the end of, but he pushed his header wide of the right post.
Eskandarian's double then came in the space of twelve minutes, the first of which once again showed United's fine passing cohesion.
Eskandarian made a run up the left flank and laid the ball off to Kovalenko, who then made a quick pass to Moreno. He flicked the ball into the air past a defender and into Eskandarian's path just inside the left corner of the box, where the second-year striker's left-footed volley gave Crew 'keeper Jon Busch no chance as it flew in inside the back post.
Eskandarian's second on the night came after Cerritos was fouled at the top of the box and Eskandarian was given the responsibility of hitting the free kick. He hit an absolute world-class strike, lacing a left-footed curler over the wall and inside Busch's left-hand post.
Just before the half Marshall had appeared to have pulled a goal back for Columbus, but it was ruled out when Marshall was adjudged to have pushed defender Mike Petke in the back before heading home.
With a comfortable lead, United came out for the second half looking for even more. Five minutes after the restart Cerritos went for a spectacular finish, hitting a bicycle kick after Moreno had crossed the ball over his head to the back post, but hit it right at Busch. Then in the 55th minute Kovalenko came in to clean up a mess inside the Crew penalty area and smashed a shot against the left post.
Freddy Adu entered for the final minutes of the match and made a dangerous run towards the Columbus net against three Crew defenders. Robin Fraser wasn't fooled by the youngster's moves and was on hand to snuff his shot and keep the 15-year-old off the scoresheet.
Manny Lagos got the Crew their only goal of the game just before the final whistle to close the gap to 3-1, but the visitors still suffered their first defeat since April 24.
D.C. will next be in action next Saturday afternoon when they travel to Dallas to take on the Burn at the Cotton Bowl for a 4 p.m. ET kickoff (ESPN2). Columbus will play host to the Colorado Rapids, also on Saturday, at 7:30 p.m. ET at Crew Stadium.
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Alecko Eskandarian (D.C. United)
Columbus Crew (4-4-3) vs. D.C. United (4-5-4)
June 19, 2004 -- RFK Stadium
DC -- Jaime Moreno 3 (Ronald Cerritos 1, Brian Carroll 1) 6
DC -- Alecko Eskandarian 2 (Jaime Moreno 4, Dema Kovalenko 3) 33
DC -- Alecko Eskandarian 3 (unassisted) 45
CLB -- Manny Lagos 1 (Kyle Martino 1) 90
Columbus Crew -- Jon Busch, Robin Fraser, Nelson Akwari, Chad Marshall, Duncan Oughton, Simon Elliott, Manny Lagos, Ross Paule (Kyle Martino 65), Eric Denton (Chris Wingert 67), Jeff Cunningham (Michael Ritch 77), David Testo.
Substitutes Not Used: Clint Baumstark, Steven Herdsman.
TOTAL SHOTS: 14 (Manny Lagos 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Manny Lagos 2); FOULS: 14 (David Testo 4); OFFSIDES: 2 (Eric Denton 1, Simon Elliott 1); CORNER KICKS: 7 (Simon Elliott 7); SAVES: 7 (Jon Busch 7)
D.C. United -- Troy Perkins, Mike Petke, Brandon Prideaux, Bryan Namoff, Dema Kovalenko (Kevin Ara 83), Brian Carroll, Jaime Moreno, Ben Olsen, Joshua Gros, Ronald Cerritos, Alecko Eskandarian (Freddy Adu 69).
Substitutes Not Used: Ryan Nelsen, Nick Rimando, David Stokes.
TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (Alecko Eskandarian 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 10 (Alecko Eskandarian 4); FOULS: 18 (Ben Olsen 4); OFFSIDES: 1 (Ronald Cerritos 1); CORNER KICKS: 4 (Alecko Eskandarian 2); SAVES: 3 (Troy Perkins 3)
CLB -- Nelson Akwari (caution; Professional Foul) 19
DC -- Alecko Eskandarian (caution; Reckless Foul) 34
DC -- Dema Kovalenko (caution; Game Disrepute) 47+
Referee: Kevin Terry
Referee's Assistants: -Bill Dittmar; Steven Taylor
4th Official: Ben Jones
Time of Game: 1:50
All Statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.