but his feat was once again overshadowed as Fabian Taylor scored twice in a 13-minute, three-goal burst in the second half which gave the MetroStars a 3-2 victory against D.C. United on Saturday afternoon before more than 30,000 fans at Giants Stadium.
Adu's 75th-minute goal, which made him the youngest player to score in an MLS game by almost two full years, brought United back to within one. But they couldn't overcome the Metro blitz earlier in the half that saw substitute Taylor's strikes sandwich a fine header from John Wolyniec.
The difference between the two halves of the game was like night and day, as D.C.'s defense and midfield dominated the first half, while the MetroStars' midfield and forwards took control of the game in the second half.
Neither team threatened much in the early minutes, until a last-ditch tackle from United defender Ryan Nelsen deflected a shot from Metro forward Mike Magee after he seemed to be clear through at the end of a quick counterattack in the 25th minute.
But off the corner kick, United immediately broke down the field after the clearance. Bobby Convey swung the ball to Jaime Moreno, who found Kovalenko was speeding down the right side of the penalty area. He drove a low cross through the box and Ben Olsen came in at the back post to finish into an empty net.
The goal kicked United into full gear, and less than five minutes later they nearly went up by two. Earnie Stewart broke free at midfield and bore down on goal. When Metro 'keeper Jonny Walker committed to stopping Stewart, he played a pass across the goalmouth, but it was just too far forward for Alecko Eskandarian, who couldn't convert an open goal from close range.
United may have been in complete control of the game in the first half, but the second stanza was a different story, as the play was wide open right from the second-half whistle.
Just five minutes after halftime, Taylor scored his first goal of the match. Metro midfielder Mark Lisi played a cross into the box, and Taylor headed the ball with force toward the top corner. United 'keeper Doug Warren made an excellent save, but the Jamaican international got to the rebound and put it over Warren from a tight angle.
Seven minutes later, Wolyniec put the MetroStars ahead. Amado Guevara won the ball in a physical challenge with D.C. defender Bryan Namoff and put in a perfectly placed cross from the left, Wolyniec acrobatically diving to head home in the six-yard box.
The MetroStars' good fortune -- and Taylor's impressive game -- continued in the 63rd minute when the striker got his second of the game. Eddie Gaven created space by turning Bryan Namoff to the inside and slipping through a little pass in the left side of the area where Taylor fired a shot that Warren got a hand on, but couldn't stop as it trickled into the goal.
Adu came into the match in the 54th minute as United boss Peter Nowak made a trio of attacking substitions in an effort to regain the upper hand. The changes finally paid dividends when another substitute, Joshua Gros, drove a cross from the left that rolled past a number of players before Adu stabbed it home from six yards out ahead of defender Chris Leitch.
But United couldn't break down the Metro defense again, the home side winning for the second time in two matches on the season while United went down to defeat for the first time. It was also the first time in 19 league matches that United had lost when Olsen scored.
The MetroStars host the New England Revolution in their next match on Sunday, April 25 at 4 p.m. ET, while United returns home to D.C. to play the Chicago Fire on April 24, a match which will air live on ESPN2 at 5 p.m. ET.
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Fabian Taylor
DC -- Ben Olsen 1 (Dema Kovalenko 1, Jaime Moreno 2) 26
MET -- Fabian Taylor 1 (Mark Lisi 3) 50
MET -- John Wolyniec 2 (Amado Guevara 1) 57
MET -- Fabian Taylor 2 (Eddie Gaven 2) 63
DC -- Freddy Adu 1 (Joshua Gros 2) 75