First XI: Love-hate relationship

56K | 384K). Bonseu is the goat on Craig Waibel's goal (56K | 350K). He let Waibel outmuscle him for position. And Ricardo Clark is the goat on Ronnie Ekelund's penalty because it was Clark who got tangled with Richard Mulrooney, leading to the PK call. But still, in the end, four of the Quakes' five goals were first-rate.

5. As for the Metros, I guess some of the Quakes message board fans are blaming 'keeper Pat Onstad for getting beat three times from outside the box, but the only one he looked truly lost on was Fabian Taylor's curving shot (Metro goal No. 3 -- 56K | 350K) at the end of the first half. Cornell Glen's first goal (56K | 384K) was an angry, dipping, swerving shot. Glen's second was a point-blank deflection. Joselito Vaca's first goal (56K | 384K) as a Metro (goal No. 2 in the match) was nothing short of spectacular, a 30-yard bomb to the postage stamp part of the goal, a strike that would be showed over and over again if it happened in any league in the world. In my opinion, Jeff Agoos is the lone San Jose defender to garner blame for any of the goals. He was the man who fouled Glen in the box, leading to Amado Guevara's penalty kick (Metro goal No. 4). Can you imagine a team allowing five goals and only one defender being called into question for any of the goals allowed?

4. I'll relate this note in an odd way. A few weeks back, I floated the idea of zero points for teams who play in 0-0 ties. Well, it didn't take long for two teams to make that suggestion look bad. The Revolution-Rapids game, a scoreless draw, just may have been the most exciting game of the week. Twenty shots for the Raps (though only six were on frame), some fantastic saves (56K | 384K) by New England 'keeper Adin Brown (back-to-back saves in injury time on a Gary Sullivan header and a Chris Henderson follow-up). Colorado's Joe Cannon (56K | 384K) made an impossible save on a point-blank bid by Taylor Twellman. Mark Chung hit the post for the Rapids on a well-struck header. And Steve Ralston made perhaps the biggest defensive play of the night, coming from out of nowhere to block Sullivan's attempt at a yawning net. If all 0-0's were as good as this one, I'd never make silly suggestions like zero for zero again. Still, much as I like goals (and the object of the game is to score), I'm still not convinced that zero for zero is not -- at the very least -- worthy of a heated bar stool debate.

3. The Metros and Quakes have now been involved in two goalfests in two seasons. Last season, the two clubs battled to a 4-4 draw at Giants Stadium. The goals in that game were not of the quality of Saturday night's tallies, but that game will be remembered (by me, anyway) mostly for the injury time madness. Clint Mathis tallied what appeared to be the game-winner. Mathis took a bow and the MetroStars celebrated a little bit too much. From my seat in the mezzanine, I saw at least two Metro players still walking back to the center circle when the 'Quakes kicked off. Seconds later, Donovan was in alone on net, tying the game one last time and (I hate this celebration) holding a hand to his ear as if to tell the Meadowlands crowd, "I can't hear you." Anyway, that was not the end of it. The MetroStars took the ensuing kickoff and sent a long ball over the top that fell to Jaime Moreno, who nailed a volley on net that was parried over the bar by Onstad. That was the end to regulation. Neither team had anything left for the overtimes. I must point out that fellow columnist Marc Connolly remembers that game mostly for Amado Guevara's "Oh, my eye!" reaction to Ramiro Corrales' towel-snap to the rear. One final note. The Metros and Quakes are to hook up two more times this season. Potential for fun there.

2. Since I'm celebrating goals again, I would be remiss if I did not mention some of the other stupefying goals scored this past week. First off, a wonderful short corner by the Burn, Ronnie O'Brien setting up Toni Nhleko (56K | 384K) for the tap-in. And despite Jovan Kirovski's two-goal (56K | 384K) game (a "brace!" says Max Bretos), I'm saving my love for Carlos Ruiz (56K | 384K), who showed that good things can happen to forwards who do not feel the need to play-act every time they go down around the goal. Ruiz smelled a goal after his collision at the top of the box with Dallas 'keeper Scott Garlick and sprung to his feet to finish. Love to see more of that. Also deserving kudos, Davy Arnaud's left-footed blast (56K | 350K) for the Wizards, and Dipsy Selolwane's persistent equalizer (56K | 350K) for the Fire. Have we ever seen more great goals in MLS? If we have, I certainly do not recall. I'm gonna need to invest in TiVo.

1. So, you see my love-hate relationship with the high-scoring game is really no different than my love-hate relationship with the low-scoring game. In the end, it's all about the qualify of soccer that's played, no matter what the final score reads. Still, I had to laugh watching those first three Metro goals. San Jose was calling them "wonder goals." And Donovan aptly said it was like "the circus had come to town." Indeed, three bombs in one game for the Metro, who, a year ago, had exactly three goals the entire season from outside the box.

Jeff Bradley is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. Send your comments and complaints (200 words or less, please) to jbradleyespn2003@yahoo.com and he promises to read (but not respond to) all of them. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author's, and not necessarily those of Major League Soccer or MLSnet.com.


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