Metros, Fire take rivalry to primetime
after scoring two all of last season -- to pull the MetroStars all the way back. He hit for his first just before the halftime break, John Wolyniec slipping a square pass inside the box for the Colombian to drive past Bo Oshoniyi (43).
Then on the hour, Galvan Rey hit again, with Wolyniec again the provider. He ran down a long ball from the center circle from Youri Djokaeff -- who made his MLS debut -- and after holding off a defender in the penalty area laid it back for the oncoming Galvan Rey, who made no mistake with his low finish.
MetroStars coach Bob Bradley made one change to the team that played to a scoreless draw against Real Salt Lake in the season opener two weeks earlier. Youri Djorkaeff made his MLS debut, coming into a three-pronged attack as Eddie Gaven was out following finger surgery.
Here's Bradley's team (4-2-1-3): Zach Wells - Chris Leitch, Jeff Parke, Carlos Mendes, Jeff Agoos - Michael Bradley, Mark Lisi (Abbe Ibrahim 87) - Amado Guevara - Youri Djorkaeff (Mike Magee 75), Sergio Galvan Rey, John Wolyniec
"We're pleased to come back. It was a good strong mentality on that end. Certainly frustrated to find ourselves down two goals. I thought we had a decent enough start to the game. They were able to turn that first play into a goal and put us on our heels a little bit. I still felt good about the push at that point," Bradley said.
For Galvan Rey, the two goals matched his MLS total of a season ago where he had real difficulty finding the back of the net. "I feel very happy, but I hope that this is the start of more to come," Galvan Rey said. "Of course when you don't score and things don't go your way you lose some confidence. I think you have to accept both the good news and the bad news. And the only way to come out is to work hard and with more ambition and things will go your way."
Djorkaeff received an assist in his first MLS game. "He's not 100 percent by any means, but he's ready to get on the field and contribute. He still sees some things that the others don't," Bradley said. "We still need to get used to having him on the field more. For someone that we had to kind of go slowly with got a pretty good number of minutes and good effort."
"We need time to be better," Djorkaeff said to the New York Post after his MLS debut. "This was my first game with them. It was very important to be good, to be OK. And I'm sure the next game is going to be better and better for everybody."
Togo international striker Abbe Ibrahim made his MLS debut in the 87th minute. The 19-year-old joined the team on Friday after obtaining a visa, but did not train, his first time on the field with his new teammates during the match.
The Chicago Fire won for the first time this season, a dramatic late goal giving them a 2-1 victory against the San Jose Earthquakes in their 2005 home opener at Soldier Field last Saturday night. The victory left the Fire with four points from their three matches this season, one of four teams tied for second in the Eastern Conference two points adrift of the Columbus Crew.
While the Fire won for the first time this season it was a familiar -- but disheartening -- refrain for the Earthquakes. The Fire took the lead in the 58th minute when a Justin Mapp cross on the left intended for Nate Jaqua was headed over San Jose goalkeeper Pat Onstad by teammate Craig Waibel for an own goal.
But the Quakes drew level with seven minutes left through some hard work. Ronald Cerritos found Brian Ching in the penalty area, and after he was bundled over to the turf, he somehow managed to shield the ball before rising and slipping a nifty little pass to substitute Alejandro Moreno, who drove the ball under Fire 'keeper Matt Pickens.
Yet there was one more bit of late magic: Substitute Chad Barrett jinked his way down the right flank before driving a low cross into the heart of the six-yard box where Thiago slid in to poke the ball past Onstad for the match-winner (91+).
It was the third time in three games the Quakes saw points lost after a late goal, after two second-half goals canceled a two-goal lead in their opener against New England, and a stoppage-time equalizer gave Chivas USA a 3-3 draw a week later.
"(This victory) was well deserved," Fire coach Dave Sarachan said. "It would have been very disappointing to us if we didn't get the three points. I thought from the start we took the initiative. ... (We) clearly wanted to play tonight and made it hard on them."
Sarachan made three changes to the team that played to a 1-1 draw with D.C. United the weekend before, though that also meant a tactical re-fit. Matt Pickens started in goal in place of the still-ailing Zach Thornton. Samuel Caballero made his MLS debut at left back, as Kelly Gray moved to a flank midfield role with Justin Mapp moving to play striker as both Andy Herron and Chris Rolfe were out to groin injuries. Nate Jaqua also came into the team, partnering Mapp in attack.
Here's Sarachan's team (3-4-1-2): Matt Pickens - C.J. Brown, Jim Curtin, Samuel Caballero - Kelly Gray, Jesse Marsch, Chris Armas, Ivan Guerrero - Thiago (Logan Pause 89) - Nate Jaqua, Justin Mapp (Chad Barrett 86)
It was a first MLS start for goalkeeper Matt Pickens, who came on at halftime the week before at D.C. United for an injured Zach Thornton. Pickens faced just two shots, and there were claims of a handball on the goal he allowed.
U.S. international Tony Sanneh was able to get in 45 minutes of action for the Fire reserve side in their 3-1 victory against the Earthquakes reserves on Sunday. Sanneh had missed the entire preseason with nagging hip and hamstring injuries.
Despite a language barrier, there was still some uncanny communication between Thiago and rookie Chad Barrett for the match-winner. "(Barrett has) become a very good friend of mine," Thiago said. "We talked about the game before kickoff. It's a little difficult because we don't speak the same language, but we understand each other pretty well."