John Wolyniec's 57th-minute goal ended 25 months of frustration for the MetroStars against the Chicago Fire and lifted Bob Bradley to his 100th regular-season MLS victory as his team claimed a 2-1 come-from-behind victory on Saturday night at Giants Stadium.
Wolyniec's second-half strike gave the MetroStars their first win over the Fire since June 22, 2002, and gave Bradley his first win against the side he led to three cup wins from 1998 to 2002 before leaving to take over with the MetroStars. Chris Armas had given the Fire the lead against the run of play in the first half, but just before the break, Amado Guevara levelled the match from the penalty spot.
The Metros' best chance in the run of play during the first half came in the 19th minute following a botched clearance by the Fire backline. Again it was Vaca running the show, this time finding Eddie Gaven inside 10 yards of the Fire goal. Gaven appeared to have an easy shot, but Curtin slid in at the last minute and broke up the play.
The Fire did not earn their first quality chance until the 21st minute when Justin Mapp ran into space on the right flank and chased down a loose ball at the MetroStars goal line, but his cross was snuffed out by Metros 'keeper Jonny Walker.
Two minutes later, Mapp again found himself with time and space down the right flank, this time lofting a poorly struck cross into the box. Gaven failed to handle the clearance and the ball bounced dangerously in the area before Chris Armas arrived in time to poke home his first goal of the season.
Gaven redeemed himself in the 42nd minute. Just as it looked like the Fire would take the one-goal lead into halftime, Gaven ran onto a pass from Cornell Glen and drew a penalty kick when Logan Pause shoved him to the ground at the left edge of the penalty area.
Guevara found himself staring down at his third penalty in as many league matches, and he did not disappoint, hitting a perfect strike to the upper left corner for his eighth goal of the season and a 1-1 score at the halftime.
The second half began with a burst of physical play that saw referee Jair Marrufo dole out three yellow cards in the first seven minutes.
In the 57th, the Metros made good on the first offensive burst of the half. Gaven won the ball in the midfield and played for Mike Magee. Wasting no time, Magee immediately drove a long ball to Wolyniec, who never broke stride in collecting the ball, then set himself for a left-footed strike that rendered Henry Ring helpless to save and gave the MetroStars their decisive lead.
The Fire nearly equalized just after an hour when Mapp whistled a free kick barely high and barely wide of the upper left corner. Four minutes later, Armas took the free kick and passed to Mapp, who found C.J. Brown streaking towards goal, but the defender's shot popped up and onto the top of the net. Moments later, Jeff Parke's clearing attempt dropped to the feat of Damani Ralph, but Chicago's leading scorer was off-balance and despite Walker having to scramble back into his goal, the Fire never managed a shot during the sequence.
The Fire had the majority of the possession the rest of the way, but didn't create a dangerous chance over the final quarter hour. Instead it was the MetroStars who twice came close to an insurance goal through the counter attack. The best of those chances saw Vaca fire wide after taking a Glen motored through midfield unopposed.
The MetroStars (7-6-5, 26 points) are now the only Eastern side above .500 and they temporarily extended to a five-point lead at the top of the East. They visit the Kansas City Wizards on Wednesday night (8:30 p.m. ET). The Fire (4-7-7, 19 points) continued to struggle, extending their winless streak in league play to eight, and now head to Colorado on Wednesday (9:30 p.m. ET) to avoid carrying the poor form into next weekend's All-Star break.
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Amado Guevara (MetroStars)
Chicago Fire (4-7-7) vs. MetroStars (7-6-5)
July 24, 2004 -- Giants Stadium
CHI -- Chris Armas 1 (unassisted) 23
MET -- Amado Guevara 8 (penalty kick) 43
MET -- John Wolyniec 5 (Mike Magee 2, Eddie Gaven 6) 57
Chicago Fire -- Henry Ring, Orlando Perez, Jim Curtin, C.J. Brown, Denny Clanton, Nate Jaqua (Evan Whitfield 89), Chris Armas, Logan Pause (Dipsy Selolwane 78), Justin Mapp, Damani Ralph, Andy Williams (Kelly Gray 73).
Substitutes Not Used: Scott Buete, D.J. Countess.
TOTAL SHOTS: 10 (Justin Mapp 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (Chris Armas 1, Andy Williams 1); FOULS: 13 (Logan Pause 3); OFFSIDES: 5 (Damani Ralph 2); CORNER KICKS: 3 (Justin Mapp 2); SAVES: 3 (Henry Ring 3)
MetroStars -- Jonny Walker, Tenywa Bonseu, Jeff Parke, Eddie Pope, Chris Leitch, Joselito Vaca (Tim Regan 86), Eddie Gaven, Amado Guevara, Mike Magee, John Wolyniec, Cornell Glen (Fabian Taylor 85).
Substitutes Not Used: Kenny Arena, Ricardo Clark, Sergio Galvan Rey, Seth Stammler, Zach Wells.
TOTAL SHOTS: 18 (Cornell Glen 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Joselito Vaca 2); FOULS: 23 (Amado Guevara 6); OFFSIDES: 1 (Cornell Glen 1); CORNER KICKS: 1 (Mike Magee 1); SAVES: 1 (Jonny Walker 1)
CHI -- Jim Curtin (caution; Reckless Foul) 46
MET -- Amado Guevara (caution; Dissent) 51
CHI -- Chris Armas (caution; Tackle from Behind) 52
Referee: Jair Marrufo
Referee's Assistants: Nathan Clement; Chip Reed
4th Official: Ken Heller
Time of Game: 1:55
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-76-degrees
All Statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.