NEW YORK (April 8, 2004) - A spectacular 39th minute left-footed shot by D.C. United forward Alecko Eskandarian in his team's season opening 2-1 win over the defending MLS Cup champion San Jose Earthquakes was recognized by fans as the Sierra Mist Goal of the Week for the week ending April 3, 2004. The goal was the fourth career strike for the No. 1 selection of the 2003 SuperDraft.
The weekly winner is determined among a selection of finalists through a fan vote conducted on the Sierra Mist Goal of the Week section of Major League Soccer's official web site.
The 21-year-old University of Virginia product narrowly beat out MetroStars forward Mike Magee by collecting 40 percent of the ballots while Magee finished with 38 percent. The game-winning goal by Los Angeles Galaxy forward Jovan Kirovski finished third with 15 percent, while the New England Revolution’s Jay Heaps and another Galaxy newcomer, Andreas Herzog, also received votes.
Eskandarian’s goal helped restore United’s lead right before the halftime break. Strike partner Jaime Moreno sliced a pass from the left side of the field into a seam down the middle of the San Jose back line which found Eskandarian. The New Jersey native proceeded to beat defender Ramiro Corrales to the ball and flicked a left-footed shot to the left of Earthquakes goalkeeper Pat Onstad, bouncing the shot off the far right post. It gave the home team a 2-1 lead it would not relinquish.
"It's a huge boost," Eskandarian told the Washington Post. "To come here today, get the game-winner against San Jose, the defending champs, being my first game of the season, I couldn't imagine anything better.”
The goal had extra meaning for Eskandarian, who dedicated it to Nicole Megaloudis - the daughter of former Miami Fusion administrator Nick Megaloudis, stepdaughter of former D.C. United coach Thomas Rongen and sister of Eskandarian’s former Virginia teammate, Chris. Megaloudis was fatally injured in a car accident in early February. On his celebration of the goal, Eskandarian lifted his jersey to reveal a T-shirt reading, "Nicole, We Miss You!" as he ran to the sideline following his goal.
Streaming video highlights of MLS games are available for viewing every weekend just hours after the conclusion of the final match of the weekend. The Sierra Mist Goal of the Week winner is announced the following Wednesday.
At the end of the regular season, each of the 29 Goal of the Week winners selected throughout the season will be featured in voting for the Sierra Mist MLS Goal of the Year, an award presented annually to the author of the season's most spectacular scoring play. The Sierra Mist Goal of the Year award will be presented at the annual Gala Awards ceremony in the days leading up to MLS Cup 2004.
2004 SIERRA MIST GOAL OF THE WEEK WINNERS:
Week 1: Alecko Eskandarian