WASHINGTON, D.C. - Dema Kovalenko continued his return to full fitness in fine form, tallying the lone goal for D.C. United Reserves (3-1-0, 9 pts.), and the Black-and-Red held off Kansas City Reserves (0-1-2, 2 pts.) 1-0 at the RFK Stadium Training Fields. Troy Perkins anchored United's defense, posting a clean sheet for the morning.
Despite the 10:00 a.m. start time, Kansas City was quick to attack. Just two minutes in, Kari Stephenson created space beyond the penalty area and let loose a left footed volley that beat Troy Perkins, but flashed just wide of his target. An extended Perkins kept him off of the scoresheet again in the thirteenth minute, parrying the 15-yard blast over the end line. Freddy Adu was also up to the task. The 15-year-old found ample room on the left flank on several occasions throughout the first half, but quality chances for the Black-and-Red failed to materialize.
Play continued to be held mostly in the center of the park with both teams vying for possession and an opening in the opponent's defense. That opening presented itself to United just past the half hour mark, when Kovalenko intercepted an errant Wizards pass in the 31st minute. The Ukranian midfielder gathered the ball 30-yards from goal, beat two Kansas City defenders on the dribble and neatly tucked a right-footed finish beneath a charging Martin Hutton.
D.C. United attempted to double the lead on two occasions just before the halftime whistle. Eliseo Quintanilla gathered a pass, created space and sent a left footed bid just over the crossbar. Kovalenko later drew defenders to him in the penalty area before laying the ball off to Matt Nickell, whose one-timer missed left.
Kansas City nearly took the second half kick-off in for a score, but a diving Perkins touched Jack Jewsbury's attempt over the bar. As the game continued to open up in the second half, the end-to-end action turned in United's favor. Kovalenko sent Adu free to the endline in the 53rd minute. The U.S. U-20 standout found Quintanilla alone at the top of the penalty area, but his shot passed just outside of the left post.
Hutton kept the Wizards in play, snuffing out a quality through ball to Quintanilla and aggressively pursuing Nickell after the recent signee had earned the ball in a mad scramble in front of the Kansas City goal. Perkins touched a harmless header over the cross bar in injury time and United's Reserves were home free.
DC - Dema Kovalenko (unassisted) 31
D.C. United Reserves - Troy Perkins, Tim Merritt, David Stokes (Jamil Walker 88), John Wilson, Jason Thompson, Shawn Kuykendall, Freddy Adu (Nick Van Sicklen 74), Nana Kuffour, Dema Kovalenko (Santino Quaranta 79), Matt Nickell, Eliseo Quintanilla.
Kansas City Wizards Reserves - Martin Hutton, Brian Roberts, Dustin Branan, Daniel Dobson, Jack Jewsbury (Ben Strawbridge 69), John Minagawa-Webster, Kari Stephehson, Douglas Lascody, Preki (Justin Detter 46), Ryan Pore Ryan Hinkel 84), Scott Seally (Jeff Hare 76).
KC - Daniel Dobson (caution) 38
DC - Freddy Adu (caution) 57
DC - Matt Nickell (caution) 90
Referee: Ben Jones
Referee's Assistants: Jason Cullum, Dave Shalowitz
4th Official: Bryan Roslund
Weather: Sunny, 70 degrees