Metros may ride Djorkaeff to playoffs

If the next few months see the MetroStars climb back into the Eastern Conference playoff picture and charge through the MLS postseason, they might look back to the first match at Pizza Hut Park as the night where it all began.

On Saturday in Frisco, Texas, Youri Djorkaeff put his teammates on his back and showed the kind of skill and leadership the club has expected since signing him during the offseason.

Djorkaeff scored both goals for the Metros, pulling the team back to level terms as Carlos Ruiz gave FC Dallas a 2-0 lead at the half with the first two goals in the new stadium.

The first goal for Djorkaeff was the veteran simply hustling to the ball first and poking it under the sliding Clarence Goodson. But the second goal was pure class as the 1998 World Cup champion silenced the crowd by chipping the ball over FCD 'keeper Jeff Cassar with an arc that not even Spiderman could get to before the Metros finished off the 2-2 draw.

"It's the kind of goal I like, because nobody expects you to chip it over the goalkeeper's head," Djorkaeff said. "We wanted to show we can lose a goal and if we are fighting it is no problem. We showed our old face the second half and we scored two goals and we played very, very, very good soccer."

To watch the one-time French international midfielder is like watching Picasso paint a picture, fluid yet confident, controlling not demanding, skillful yet unselfish. He has all the attributes of a proven leader.

"He's [Djorkaeff] a good player, he's a class player. With or without the ball he is very good," said FCD coach Colin Clarke.

Since his arrival this season, Djorkaeff has battled injuries, most recently a hamstring strain, that kept him out of eight of the MetroStars first 21 games this season. Being able to count on a healthy Djorkaeff could be the difference the Metros need if they are make a first-ever appearance in an MLS Cup Final.

"I thought last week against Dallas -- and I told all the team -- that the big games (are) starting now. (It's the last) half of the season and we are starting the big games. We must fight every game -- not just maybe one or two games, but every game," Djorkaeff said.

"I don't care about the new stadium, because we are going back [home] with one point," he said. "And to come back with something, we are back in the game like a great team, because we showed up last week -- we are starting to discover what it takes."

Ron Goode is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to tha approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.


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