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Final

Djorkaeff, MetroStars ready for Revs

E. RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Gillette Stadium has been a house of horrors for the MetroStars in recent years, but the team is confident they can beat the New England Revolution there Saturday night. After a stunning 5-4 win against the Revs last Saturday at Giants Stadium, the Metros believe they can do just about anything right now.

"I think it makes us more confident. We won," Mike Magee said. "We had some letdowns and stuff but we know that New England is a tough place to play, they're looking for revenge. But we're playing do or die now, there's no tomorrow and three points is a must every game."

The Metros, with three wins and three draws in their last seven games, received some good news Wednesday night when third-place Chicago fell 2-0 at San Jose and have a chance to go level with fourth-place Kansas City with a win vs. the Revs. The Wizards take on the Los Angeles Galaxy on Sunday at The Home Depot Center.

"Everyone here believes that we definitely have a team that can make the playoffs, a team that can win a championship," Magee said. "Although some people have counted us out, we still believe in each other."

A big reason they believe, a big reason why the MetroStars are still talking playoffs is the play of World Cup champion Youri Djorkaeff. The former French international had two goals and an assist last weekend, including a remarkable winner from a near impossible angle four minutes from full time.

"That's just him, it's almost expected now," Magee said of Djorkaeff's stunning strike. "His individual brilliance just changes the game, it changes our season. You can say it's a great team effort but also for Youri, his leadership ... it could have been our season. He changed it around for us, I hope."

Not bad for a 37-year-old who some thought was just coming to MLS for an easy retirement like Lothar Mattheus did a few years ago.

"I have nothing to prove in 21 years of a career," Djorkaeff said. "I just enjoy the moment, I just enjoy my football. I understood when I came here people said, 'yeah, another player' because it was a bad experience the MetroStars the last couple of big names. I was not really under pressure like this."

Metros coach Bob Bradley knew Djorkaeff was serious about playing in America when he first talked to him about the possibility.

"When I went over to speak to him in [England] it was pretty clear that he was looking for a new challenge," he said. "He understood the responsibility of a player of coming here in terms of the expectations, in terms of still wanting to win, in terms of still being a good example for younger players."

In addition to being one of the most dangerous attacking players in the league when healthy, Djorkaeff has been invaluable in the Metros locker room, especially to younger attacking players like Magee and Eddie Gaven.

"He doesn't need the money, he just loves the game, he loves to compete and it just shows," Magee said of Djorkaeff. "Now that he's healthy he's contributing so much to the team that it's helping me out a lot too. He's just a freak of nature."

While another memorable barnburner might not be in the cards Saturday, the MetroStars will again look to put pressure on the Revolution by pushing its numbers forward and challenging the ball.

But it won't be easy to get three points at Gillette Stadium. The Metros haven't won in Foxborough, Mass. since Bradley took over three years ago, three losses and three draws in six games during that time.

"It's a team victory, a big team victory. We needed one at least like this to be a reference for us," Djorkaeff said. "We continue with humility because we know New England is a good team, they play home. ... They want revenge."

Dylan Butler is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.


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