Strong defense leads to Metro wins

The MetroStars' recent results have vaulted them to the top of the table in the Eastern Conference, and they have their team defense to thank for it.

It was not long ago that D.C. United hit for six goals against the Metros, or that the offensively inept Colorado Rapids scored twice in the final 10 minutes at Giants Stadium to beat the Red and Black, 3-2.

"I would actually say that over the last few games we have gotten a better defensive effort from our midfield and our forwards," head coach Bob Bradley said.

That collective effort has helped take pressure off the back line and goalkeeper Jonny Walker.

"It's been fairly simple for me. Things have changed quite a bit over the last (few games)," Walker said. "It has been a better defensive effort. The group has made it very easy on me. When I have to come out and participate in the plays I have to participate in, it's pretty cut and dry."

Walker, whose 'keeper position gives him a birds' eye view of how the side is performing, added that attitude has been as much of a key to the recent success than anything else.

"Obviously the play has been better," he said, "but the most noticeable thing you can say about the group is attitude and managing the game when we have an advantage over a team. We're able to make intelligent decisions on the field while the game is going on and not get caught up in making juvenile mistakes and sometimes giving results away."

Bradley concurred that while he thinks the team has played well all season, they have "certainly given away some points."

Yet Bradley has also preached weekly improvement for the MetroStars, something that has happened over the last month.

"Guys are picking up runners coming through the midfield and I'm not having to yell as much," Walker said.

Dan Lauletta 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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