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Martino: We did well to get a point

Frankie Hejduk is an old-timer, according to Kyle Martino.

Photo Credit: 
Greg Bartram/MLS/WireImage.com

Crew midfielder Kyle Martino was the 2002 MLS Rookie of the Year and has also played for the U.S. men's national team. Each week during the 2004 MLS season, Kyle will detail the week past, giving insight into the life of a professional soccer player.

I thought that we did well to come out and get an early goal against the New England Revolution on Saturday. I thought that even though we let up a pretty bad goal right after that and were a little unfortunate, we came right back and got on top of them again, which is definitely a positive.

You know, New England is known for their set pieces. They're very dangerous on them. We knew we needed to stay turned on and focused for them, but we gave them an inch on the set piece, and they scored to make it 2-2. We were a little disappointed that we only got out of there with a tie, but getting a point on the road at this point in the season is still a positive.

Of course, letting in two tying goals was pretty frustrating. I thought that if we got up a goal and either got into halftime 1-0 or kept pressing, we were going to definitely win the game and probably score again. To let in a goal so quickly after we scored was definitely frustrating. I felt it stopped the momentum we had, but we showed a lot of character to - after letting them level things right away - go up again. You've got to credit New England, too. Every time we made a charge, they came right back. It was a back-and-forth game that was probably exciting to watch, but we wish we could have gotten out of there with three points.

I managed to get my third goal of the season during the game. On the play, I was just thinking of taking advantage of the Revs' turnover - to try to get into the box, to try to get into the attacking third and get dangerous. I saw Edson Buddle streaking on my side, so I knew that even though it was a turnover in the back, we had numbers and I was either going to be able to find Edson or have a shot on goal. Luckily, the defender stayed with Edson and cut off that lane, so I just took a shot and, I think, offset Matt Reis a little bit. I think he thought I was going to curl it far post, but I snuck it inside the near post.

If you watched the game against New England, then you know I was partnering with Edson up front throughout the game. I think the major benefit of that is that I get a lot more opportunities in the attacking third. The attacking third is definitely the place where - I think - I'm at my best, just because I take a lot of risks. If they don't come off there, then it's not going to be too detrimental to us. If something comes off or works out, then we're up. We're scoring goals. To be playing up top with Edson, he's a wonderful player to play with and easy player to link with because of his talent and his strength. So, playing up top puts me in more of a dangerous situation more times during a game.

This weekend, we've got a trip to Los Angeles and a game against the Galaxy to look forward to. I think every chance we get now to catch the MetroStars and use the games that we have in hand to get points is an opportunity that we need to utilize. I think we're a much different team than we were the last time we played L.A. I think we have a lot more confidence and we're playing better soccer. So, we feel that we're going to get a good result out there and that we need to in order to track the MetroStars down because no one seems to be stopping them right now.

As far as the standings are concerned, I think we feel pretty good about where we are. The MetroStars have played a game or two more than we have, and we feel if we can keep doing what we're doing, we're going to stay right up there at the top, and come the end of the season, anything can happen. We feel good. We obviously aren't complacent, and we're still striving for more, but we feel good. We feel comfortable with the position we're in. We're just going to nip at the MetroStars' heels and make them have to keep winning because if they slip up, we're going to catch them.

On a final note, it was Frankie Hejduk's 30th birthday last week, so we had a little pool celebration when we got back in Columbus after the New England game. It was a beautiful day. We went over to one of our buddies' apartment complex, had our friends over, barbecued a little bit and celebrated Frankie turning into a really old man.


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