Roundup: More good news from Crew

The Columbus Crew continued their solid start to the 2005 MLS preseason with a 1-0 win over the MetroStars Friday at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

Midfielder Kyle Martino scored the only goal of the game in the 30th minute with a chip shot that beat Metros 'keeper Zach Wells. Veteran Simon Elliott picked up an assist on the play. In the second half, Crew 'keeper Matt Jordan turned away several MetroStars chances, including two from forward Sherif Toure in the final seconds, to preserve the clean sheet.

The Crew, who topped the University of South Florida on Tuesday, have now won three of their first five preseason matches, losing only once.

The Crew are back in action Sunday against Real Salt Lake as part of the first annual Tom Fitzgerald Memorial Soccer Festival at the University of Tampa, while the MetroStars face the U.S. Under-20 national team on Sunday.

Rookies lead Fire again: The Chicago Fire won their second straight preseason match Friday, topping Brimstone Cup rival FC Dallas 3-1 at the IMG Academy.

Just as they did in Thursday's preseason-opening victory over the University of Central Florida, Fire rookies Will John and Chris Rolfe paced their club. Rolfe notched his second goal of the preseason in the fourth minute of the 75-minute scrimmage, and John provided an insurance goal on the hour mark.

After Rolfe opened the scoring, Fire defender Kelly Gray made it a 2-0 lead for the 2004 U.S. Open Cup runners-up in the 18th minute. Newly acquired midfielder Arturo Alvarez pulled one back for FC Dallas in the 25th minute, but John iced the game with his late tally.

Henry Ring got the start in goal for FC Dallas against his former team.

Rapids draw with home-standing Emelec: The Fernando Clavijo era opened for the Colorado Rapids Thursday in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where the Rapids played to a scoreless draw with Ecuadorian first division club Emelec.

Rapids attackers Jeff Cunningham and Luchi Gonzalez each had a couple of chances to give the visitors an away victory on a night when the home side was celebrating the official unveiling of its 2005 roster. Clavijo was impressed with the atmosphere in the sold-out George Capwell Stadium.

"It was an unbelievable crowd of approximately 30,000 fans that made it clear who the home team was," Clavijo said. "I'm extremely proud of our team. Despite being together for no more than 10 days, both rookies and veterans showed an unbelievable personality and determination under such and adverse atmosphere."

The Rapids' next match during their stay in Ecuador takes place Wednesday against Ecuadorian Serie A side Deportivo Quevedo.

Mathis, RSL tie U-17s: Real Salt Lake striker Clint Mathis made it to Bradenton just in time for his first preseason match with his new club, and he provide the equalizer in a 1-1 draw with the U.S. under-17 national team.

U-17 forward and Los Angeles Galaxy SuperDraft selection Quavas Kirk notched the opener in the first half after a mistake by the RSL back line allowed him to break the offside trap. However with RSL's veteran attackers, including Mathis, Jason Kreis and Andy Williams, entering the game in the second half, it was only a matter of time until the MLS side evened the match.

Mathis, who had flown from Trinidad to Florida late Wednesday night after being a reserve for the U.S. national team in its World Cup qualifier against Trinidad & Tobago earlier in the day, converted a 30-yard free kick to earn RSL the draw.

Fire dominate Central Florida: The Chicago Fire got their 2005 preseason started in style with a 4-1 victory over the University of Central Florida Thursday at the IMG Academy.

Fire newcomers Will John, Thiago and Chris Rolfe all scored for the "Men in Red" during the 80-minute match, as did veteran forward Nate Jaqua. John also notched two assists.

Brazilian playmaker Thiago got the Fire on the board just four minutes into the game, converting a cross from defender Leonard Griffin with an 8-yard shot. John got a secondary assist on that goal, and 14 minutes later, the second round SuperDraft pick scored one of his own.

After UCF cut their deficit in half in the 25th minute, the Fire put the game away as John set up Rolfe for his club's third goal a minute later and Jaqua closed the scoring with a penalty kick in the 72nd minute.

Jason Halpin is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.


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