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Guevara leads East past West

Posted: Sunday, August 01, 2004

WASHINGTON Freddy Adu didn't have a problem sitting on the sideline during the first half of the MLS All-Star game.

That's because the 15-year-old rookie sensation had an ideal vantage point to watch Armado Guevara verify his stature as the league's leading scorer.

Guevara scored twice in a two-minute span of the first half Saturday to carry the Eastern Conference past the West 3-2.

Adu, who plays for hometown D.C. United, entered at the beginning of the second half and thrilled the announced crowd of 21,378 with some sharp moves with the ball. But none of his shots came close to getting past goaltender Kevin Hartman.

That did nothing to deter the excitement that Adu derived from watching Guevara, a standout with the MetroStars who was voted MVP of the game.

''If he's not the best, he's one of the best,'' Adu said. ''I haven't seen a lot of his games, but what he showed me out there, oh my goodness, this guy is good. His worst game would be a good game.''

Adu, who has two goals in seven games since joining the league in April, was a special pick by commissioner Don Garber.

''I thought I played great. It was fun, it was hot,'' Adu said. ''It was kind of dull for a little bit, so I felt like I had to do something to keep the fans involved and going. I got the ball and started doing some tricks and all that stuff. Everything turned out great.''

Although Adu had no bearing on the game, one of his teammates did. Alecko Eskandarian of D.C. United kicked a left-footed shot into the left corner of the net in the 74th minute to make it 3-1.

Jason Kreis, a seven-time All-Star, scored in the 89th minute for the West on a 20-foot shot that bounced off the right post.

Guevara is the captain of the Honduras national team and the MLS points leader with 25 in 17 matches. He broke up a scoreless duel by connecting from 18 yards out, then converted a penalty shot for a 2-0 lead.

Five of his nine goals this season are on penalty shots, and his score in that situation Saturday was his sixth in six tries this season.

''I'd love to have this kind of player on my team. Maybe we're going to talk after the game about that,'' said grinning East coach Peter Nowak, head coach of D.C. United. ''I really enjoy to working with him and then watching him. Every single pass makes sense. I love those kind of players.''

Down 2-1, the West missed a chance to pull even in the 53rd minute when backup goaltender Jon Busch flicked away a twisting penalty shot by Kreis.

The game was expected to be a high-scoring affair with little defense, but the sweltering conditions took a toll on the athletes and caused both coaches to substitute liberally in the second half.

''I can't remember ever playing in a game that hot,'' said Landon Donovan, who received assists on both West goals. ''There's just a point where your body says 'No, I'm not going to do the run.'''

There were few choice scoring chances at the outset before the action picked up dramatically in the 20th minute.

That's when Guevara took a pass from Damani Ralph at the top of the 18-yard box and deftly booted the ball past West goalkeeper Pat Onstad. Then, after Ronnie O'Brien fouled Dema Kovalenko, the East was awarded a penalty shot by referee Michael Kennedy.

Guevara kicked the penalty shot into the left corner of the net past the diving Onstad.

The West missed an excellent scoring chance in the 25th minute, when Kovalenko slipped behind his own goalie and kicked aside a sure goal by O'Brien.

The West closed to 2-1 in the 43rd minute, when Brian Ching put in a header off a fine crossing pass by Richard Mulrooney.

In the preliminary game, a team comprising 16 members of the 1994 United States World Cup team tied the World Legends, 2-2.

Eric Wynalda had a goal and an assist to stake the United States to a 2-0 halftime lead, but Salvadorans Raul Diaz Arce and Mauricio Cienfuegos scored in the second half, the last goal coming in the 48th minute of the 50-minute exhibition.



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