Djorkaeff's first sparks MetroStars
Behind Youri Djorkaeff's and Abbe Ibrahim's first MLS goals, the MetroStars pounced on the Columbus Crew 3-0 on Saturday evening at Columbus Crew Stadium. Youngster Eddie Gaven added the middle goal, which occurred at the beginning of the second half.
The MetroStars have only lost once on the road this season -- Wednesday night at Kansas City. MetroStars coach Bob Bradley was not worried that the midweek defeat would hamper his team's chances against the Crew.
"Columbus had a match Wednesday as well. I made the point to the team that the two teams were in the same boat," said Bradley. "It is a lot about mentality."
In part thanks to the outstanding field at Crew Stadium, the MetroStars were much smoother with possession of the ball than against the Wizards.
"We were much sharper on with ball [compared to Wednesday]. The surface is a little bigger and one of the best that we played on all season," said Bradley.
Neither side looked terribly impressive at the beginning of the match, but that all changed with one bit of magic by Djorkaeff. The French attacker drilled a shot from distance that knuckled past Crew 'keeper Bill Gaudette.
"It was a great goal. As a rifleman for the team, it was a good moment for me," said Djorkaeff. "I was very happy because it came after all of the near misses."
Added Bradley: "It was great to see him get his first goal. He is excited. It shows the reason that he is still playing."
"It was my first goal in America. It was a gift to all of my American fans," said Djorkaeff.
Once the MetroStars got the lead, they played turned their play up a notch.
"After a goal like this, our whole team was very confident," said Djorkaeff. "This is very important because we scored another goal and continued to play very strong."
In addition to Djorkaeff's first goal in MLS, Ibrahim also tallied his first goal. Bradley believes the game showcased more development than just his first goal.
"He [Ibrahim] is making progress every day. I felt tonight the part that was good was his reading of situations when his teammates needed to find a hole, show, and hold the ball," said Bradley. "He wasn't just looking to run with the ball on the dribble. That is important because even if you are fast, you can't just take off every time."
The win over the Crew allowed the MetroStars to again show their strong play away from home. Good road form has been needed after their lack of good results thus far, without a win in five games at Giants Stadium.
"We started off with 3 games at home. That is not the way any team would want to start. They were tight games. One was played in a monsoon," said Bradley. "At the end of those games, we had 2 points. Everyone was going crazy, but you have to remember it is a long season."
The MetroStars have clawed their way back up the standings by getting wins on the road. Even though the MetroStars came into the game as a last-place team, they did not play like one against the Crew -- and now they aren't. With the win, the MetroStars leapfrogged the Crew and D.C. United out of the Eastern Conference basement.
To continue their climb up the standings, the MetroStars will have to do something that they have not done yet this season: Win at home.
"I think we are very close to the first victory at home," said Djorkaeff. "I hope it is in our next game."
The task will even be more difficult as Gaven will be away from the team for an extended period of time with the U.S. under-20 national team for the FIFA World Youth Championship.
"We will miss him. He is a good player for us -- everyone knows that," said Bradley.
The MetroStars plan on looking to Mike Magee to take over many of Gaven's responsibilities.
"We have used Mike Magee in some of those same midfield spots," said Bradley. "When he came in as a reserve against New England two games ago, he set up John Wolyniec's goal. He gave us some good minutes tonight."
John Kuhn is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.