MLS Week 19 in review
owners of the league's best overall record -- for the third time in three meetings this season and extended their lead in the Eastern Conference to seven points as no other conference team managed a victory in Week 19 of the MLS campaign.
The Columbus Crew remained in second in the East after a 2-2 draw with the last-place New England Revolution, while things tightened up considerably in the Western Conference. The Dallas Burn pulled into a tie with the Colorado Rapids for third place with their last-gasp victory at the Cotton Bowl, while the San Jose Earthquakes continued their run of form with a 2-0 victory against D.C. United.
On Sunday at Giants Stadium, the MetroStars moved to within a point of the league's best overall record with their second 3-0 victory of the season against the Galaxy. Earlier in the year, the Metros had knocked off the Galaxy 3-0 at The Home Depot Center four days after a 2-1 victory at the Meadowlands.
Amado Guevara moved into a tie for the MLS goal-scoring lead when he converted from the penalty spot for the sixth time in six tries this season (36), after John Wolyniec was knocked down deep in the box by Tyrone Marshall. The goal extended Guevara's point-scoring streak to nine matches and firmly entrenched him atop the Budweiser Scoring Leaders.
In the second half, Metro put away the match with two goals in four minutes. A wonderful pass from Mike Magee sent Eddie Gaven through alone on goal and the teenager coolly slotted it past Galaxy 'keeper Kevin Hartman (61).
Then in the 64th minute a long searching free kick from Guevara found Cornell Glen on the left side of the area, and his low cross was volleyed home by Wolyniec from the spot in a tremendous goal. The Galaxy were left a man down for the final quarter of the match after Chris Albright was sent off for a nasty challenge on Chris Leitch.
The MetroStars were able to pad their lead in the Eastern Conference when the match between the Crew and Revolution dwindled to a draw the day before at Gillette Stadium.
The teams combined for their four goals in the first half -- one each in stoppage time -- before settling for a share of the spoils. The Crew's Kyle Martino pounced upon a poor Jay Heaps pass before cracking home a shot from the edge of the box to give the visitors the lead (20), before Steve Ralston calmly converted from the penalty spot nine minutes later after Crew 'keeper Jon Busch was adjudged to have knocked over Taylor Twellman when rushing out to punch away a bouncing ball.
Then after the clock had ticked over 45 minutes, Columbus forward Edson Buddle powered home a header off a free kick swung in from the left after he was completely unmarked in the heart of the box. But barely a minute later the Revs answered on a free kick of their own, swung in by José Cancela from the right where Pat Noonan met it with a glancing header at the near post, nestling it neatly inside Busch's right-hand post.
At Spartan Stadium, the Earthquakes won for the second time in three matches in a dominant victory against D.C. United. Brian Mullan provided the only goal of the first half when he finally found home, putting back a rebound of a wild pinball sequence in the United area (17).
The Quakes hit the woodwork three times and had a header cleared off the line, but finally doubled their lead seven minutes before the end on a world-class strike from Dwayne De Rosario, who picked a Mullan cross out of midair and nearly ripped the net off its moorings with a full volley that United 'keeper Troy Perkins could only stand and admire.
The San Jose victory tightened up the back end of the Western Conference, combined with the Burn's dramatic victory at the Cotton Bowl. The match seemed destined for a draw after the Burn were left with nine men, Simo Valakari (57) and Brad Davis (72) both sent off for second bookable offenses, and neither side really threatening.
But then just as the full 90 minutes rolled over, Ritchie Kotschau pulled back substitute Bobby Rhine in the box, and referee Ricardo Valenzuela made no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Rapids 'keeper Joe Cannon guessed correctly on Eddie Johnson's penalty, but the youngster still slipped it past his dive for his seventh goal on the season.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.