D.C. United secured the fourth and final Eastern Conference berth in the playoffs by virtue of a 1-1 draw against the Kansas City Wizards Saturday night at RFK Stadium in the two teams' regular-season finale. Kansas City's Preki gave the visiting side the early lead, but veteran Hristo Stoitchkov sent the game into overtime with his second half equalizer.
The result sends United (10-11-9, 39 points) back to the playoffs for the first time since winning the league title in 1999. United -- three-time MLS Cup champions -- will face the Chicago Fire in the first round in a two-game home-and-home series. The Eastern Conference semifinal series begins Nov. 1 at RFK Stadium, and the second leg will be played on Nov. 9 at Soldier Field live on ESPN2.
D.C. on Oct. 26 announced that Ben Olsen, Ryan Nelsen, Marco Etcheverry, Bryan Namoff and Dema Kovalenko have been honored as the recipients of Unitedís club awards for the 2003 season. The awards were presented at D.C. Unitedís annual club seat-holder dinner in Falls Church, Va.
Kovalenko was honored as Most Valuable Player, while Nelsen was named the Defender of the year. Etcheverry took home the Scoring Champion award for the second consecutive year, and Olsen was selected as the U.S. Soccer Foundation Humanitarian of the Year for his off-field work in the community.
The MVP, Defender of the Year and U.S. Soccer Foundation Humanitarian of the Year awards are determined through balloting of media members, while the scoring champion is given to the teamís leading scorer based on points, with two points for a goal and one for an assist. Namoff was honored with the Coachesí Award, given by United head coach Ray Hudson and assistant coach John Trask.