Metros salvage draw with Fire
with the two teams playing each other again next weekend at Giants Stadium, as Metro coach Bob Bradley once again tries to win his 100th MLS game.
An early warning was fired nine minutes into the match a long ball was played over the top of the MetroStars' defense in the direction of Ralph, but just as it seemed like he would out-pace Eddie Pope and go in alone on goal the U.S. national team defender was able to clear the threat.
But four minutes later there was a carbon copy and this time Ralph beat his marker, rounding MetroStars 'keeper Jonny Walker before tucking it into the empty net.
In the 18th minute a string of nice passes for the MetroStars created their first good scoring chance of the match, as Chris Leitch cut a low cross into the box for John Wolyniec, but his first-time effort on the turn was saved by a diving Henry Ring.
Wolyniec then made a second attempt to connect on his first in the 33rd minute, but was denied by a great save from Ring. Guevara chipped a perfect pass over the defense for Wolyniec to run on to, but Ring was quick to react and did well to block away Wolyniec's shot.
Five minutes before halftime it was Eddie Gaven who attempted to level the score after Cornell Glen laid back a pass inside the box. But Gaven -- who had netted four goals in his previous four matches with the Metros -- didn't make good contact on his shot and Ring easily saved.
Chicago winger DaMarcus Beasley came close to doubling the lead just before the break. He used his blistering pace to beat several MetroStars defenders and galloped into the box, but his left-footed shot sailed wide of the goal.
The home team continued to push forward in the second half in search of a second goal, creating two good opportunities just before the hour mark. First, Nate Jaqua turned inside from his right wing position to take a shot that Walker saved, then a minute later Ralph blasted shot over the goal from the right rather than playing to an unmarked Dipsy Selolwane in the heart of the box.
As the second half continued, the MetroStars steadily increased their forward pressure, especially after the hour when Bradley tried to change his team's attacking fortunes by bringing on Mike Magee and Joselito Vaca for Cornell Glen and Kenny Arena.
It finally paid off in the 84th minute when an attempted cross from Wolyniec hit the arm of C.J. Brown and referee Baldomero Toledo pointed to the spot, despite the vociferous protests from the Fire. Guevara placed his spot-kick just inside the left post to give the MetroStars a point on the road and keep them atop the Eastern Conference table.
The MetroStars and Fire will square off again next Saturday in the return match of a home-and-away series at Giants Stadium (7:30 p.m. ET). First, though, they face some difficult matches in the U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday. The MetroStars travel to face the A-League Charleston Battery, while the Chicago Fire face MLS opposition on the road in the Columbus Crew.
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Joselito Vaca (MetroStars)
MetroStars (6-6-5) vs. Chicago Fire (4-6-7)
July 17, 2004 -- Soldier Field
CHI -- Damani Ralph 8 (Chris Armas 5) 13
MET -- Amado Guevara 7 (penalty kick) 84
MetroStars -- Jonny Walker, Craig Ziadie, Jeff Parke, Eddie Pope, Chris Leitch, Ricardo Clark, Kenny Arena (Joselito Vaca 61), Eddie Gaven, Amado Guevara, John Wolyniec, Cornell Glen (Mike Magee 61).
Substitutes Not Used: Tenywa Bonseu, Seth Stammler, Zach Wells.
TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (Eddie Gaven 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Eddie Gaven 2, John Wolyniec 2); FOULS: 19 (Eddie Gaven 5); OFFSIDES: 2 (Mike Magee 1, John Wolyniec 1); CORNER KICKS: 4 (Mike Magee 2); SAVES: 5 (Jonny Walker 5)
Chicago Fire -- Henry Ring, Denny Clanton, Jim Curtin, C.J. Brown, Nate Jaqua, Chris Armas, DaMarcus Beasley, Logan Pause (Orlando Perez 73), Justin Mapp, Damani Ralph, Dipsy Selolwane (Andy Williams 76).
Substitutes Not Used: D.J. Countess, Kelly Gray, Leonard Griffin, Sumed Ibrahim.
TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (Damani Ralph 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Damani Ralph 3); FOULS: 22 (4 tied with 3); OFFSIDES: 4 (Dipsy Selolwane 2); CORNER KICKS: 3 (Justin Mapp 2); SAVES: 5 (Henry Ring 5)
MET -- Craig Ziadie (caution; Professional Foul) 20
MET -- Kenny Arena (caution; Reckless Foul) 27
CHI -- DaMarcus Beasley (caution; Tackle from Behind) 80
MET -- Amado Guevara (caution; Delaying a Restart) 85
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Referee's Assistants: -Steven Davidson; Richard Eddy
4th Official: Michael Kennedy
Time of Game: 1:53
All Statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.