Metros' playoff hopes remain alive
With their playoff chances slowly slipping away and a home loss to expansion side Chivas USA just moments away, the MetroStars needed a miracle. Consider Amado Guevara the miracle worker.
The Honduran international's stunning, bending strike in the fourth minute of stoppage time completed a hat trick and brought the MetroStars back from the jaws of defeat for a 3-3 draw at Giants Stadium on Sunday night.
"At the end, you are looking for a miracle," Metros coach Bob Bradley said. "And we got one."
Youri Djorkaeff lined up to take a free kick from 27 yards out but faked the shot and slotted the ball to his left where he found an unmarked Guevara.
And Guevara scored his team-leading eighth goal of the year, curling the ball inside the far post for the dramatic equalizer.
Almost immediately after the game Guevara and Djorkaeff were whisked away to John F. Kennedy International Airport for a flight to Madrid where they will play Real Madrid as part of an MLS select side.
"I tried to move away and nobody could tell that I was there, so I called to Youri to give it to me," Guevara said. "It was a beautiful ball (from Youri) and I put it where I wanted to put it."
The goal for the Metros coming into the game was a win -- all three games of the Metros homestand were considered must-wins by Bradley -- but trailing 3-1 at the half, an unlikely draw all of a sudden became quite appealing.
The Metros move within five points of the fourth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with eight games left.
"At the end it could be zero points," said Djorkaeff, who wore the captain's armband for a second consecutive game because of superstition, according to Bradley. "But at the end we put our hearts into it and we came out of it with one good point."
Guevara scored his first from the penalty spot in the fifth minute, after Ramon Ramirez tripped up Eddie Gaven in the box.
But then new Chivas signings Juan Francisco Palencia and Juan Pablo Garcia showed their class.
First it was Palencia, the fiery Mexican striker nicknamed "Paco."
In the 17th minute he knocked in Douglas Sequeira's flick of an Orlando Perez corner for his first MLS goal. Five minutes later Paco picked up Ryan Suarez's attempted sliding clearance near the top of the box and beat Tony Meola with a first-time drive from 22 yards out.
Not to be outdone by Palencia, Garcia scored his first MLS goal in the 39th minute, when he took a feed from Arturo Torres and lofted it over Meola's right shoulder.
All of a sudden, the new-look Chivas looked like they would win their first game away from the Home Depot Center.
But then led by Guevara, the MetroStars roared back. The reigning MLS MVP scored his second penalty kick in the 69th minute after referee Michael Kennedy ruled Garcia took down Gaven in the box. It's the first time in MetroStars history the club scored twice from the spot in a single game.
Guevara wasn't done there, capping a feisty and frantic final 10 minutes by scoring a phenomenal equalizer goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
"It's the best situation to pass the ball to Amado and not to shoot," Djorkaeff said. "He scored a very nice goal."
Dylan Butler is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.