The Chicago Fire saw their one-time Soldier Field fortress take another battering on Saturday night, losing a 3-0 decision for the second successive home match, this time to the MetroStars.
Errors by the Fire defense gifted Amado Guevara and Eddie Gaven first-half goals, and Gaven added a second just after the hour for a lopsided Metrostars victory, who flew out of the Eastern Conference cellar with the win.
MetroStars players entered the Fire's penalty area alone and virtually unchallenged for all three tallies, leaving Chicago brooding over two consecutive 3-0 home defeats -- a first in Fire history -- on the eve of playing 11 of their next 16 matches at Soldier Field.
Defensive lapses have hallmarked this season's two Fire-Metros matches. Fire forward Nate Jaqua intercepted Jeff Parke's errant back pass during the teams' first meeting on April 22 for the only goal in the Fire win at Giants Stadium.
Fire defender Samuel Caballero was the inauspicious centerpiece of the Metros first two goals Saturday. On 23 minutes, Caballero initiated a seemingly innocent pass from the edge of his penalty area, but Jim Curtin was looking upfield and never saw the feed. Guevara collected the wayward ball and beat Zach Thornton one-on-one, the Fire 'keeper narrowly failing to keep the shot out after getting a big hand onto the chance.
Just before the interval Metros midfielder Youri Djorkaeff delivered the dagger, a bending long pass from deep in the center of midfield, which Gaven effortlessly slotted through Thornton's legs from the heart of the penalty area. While well positioned to intercept Djorkaeff's feed, Caballero fanned while attempting to clear.
Gaven converted his second one-on-one with Thornton in the 62nd minute after collecting an easy through ball from Guevara. The Honduras midfielder was sprung in midfield and raced in nearly alone on Thornton before sliding a pass to Gaven who poked the ball home.
The Metrostars defense, the league's stingiest behind the New England Revolution as measured by goals against average, marshaled the area in front of Zach Wells, helping the young 'keeper earn his second shutout of the season.
Fire defender C.J. Brown and midfielder Justin Mapp -- having started the Fire's first seven matches - suffered injuries late in the week and missed Saturday's match. Three projected Fire regulars -- John Thorrington, Tony Sanneh and Lubos Reiter -- made their Soldier Field debuts in the red strip.
The Fire will look to get their home record back on track next Saturday when they play host to the Colorado Rapids at 7:30 p.m. CT. The Metrostars, who moved out of the Eastern Conference cellar with the victory, host the league-leading New England Revolution next Saturday at 4 p.m. ET (ESPN2).
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Eddie Gaven (MetroStars)
Ivaldo Basso is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.
MetroStars (2-2-2) vs. Chicago Fire (3-4-1)
May 14, 2005 -- Soldier Field
MET -- Amado Guevara 4 (unassisted) 23
MET -- Eddie Gaven 1 (Youri Djorkaeff 2) 45
MET -- Eddie Gaven 2 (Amado Guevara 1, Mike Magee 1) 62
MetroStars -- Zach Wells, Chris Leitch, Jeff Agoos, Tim Regan, Tim Ward, Eddie Gaven, Michael Bradley, Mark Lisi, Amado Guevara, Mike Magee, Youri Djorkaeff.
Substitutes Not Used: Gilberto Flores, Abbe Ibrahim, Jeff Parke, Jonny Walker, John Wolyniec.
TOTAL SHOTS: 8 (Eddie Gaven 3, Amado Guevara 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Eddie Gaven 3); FOULS: 21 (Eddie Gaven 4); OFFSIDES: 3 (Youri Djorkaeff 2); CORNER KICKS: 1 (Amado Guevara 1); SAVES: 5 (Zach Wells 5)
Chicago Fire -- Zach Thornton, Tony Sanneh, Jim Curtin, Samuel Caballero (Jack Stewart 46), John Thorrington (Thiago 60), Chris Armas, Jesse Marsch (Chad Barrett 76), Ivan Guerrero, Chris Rolfe, Andy Herron, Lubos Reiter.
Substitutes Not Used: Kelly Gray, Nate Jaqua, Will John, David Mahoney, Logan Pause, Gonzalo Segares.
TOTAL SHOTS: 6 (Lubos Reiter 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Lubos Reiter 3); FOULS: 19 (3 tied with 3); OFFSIDES: 6 (Lubos Reiter 4); CORNER KICKS: 5 (Chris Armas 4); SAVES: 3 (Zach Thornton 3)
MET -- Tim Regan (caution; Reckless Foul) 32
MET -- Chris Leitch (caution; Pushing, Holding) 37
CHI -- Lubos Reiter (caution; Tackle from Behind) 47
MET -- Michael Bradley (caution; Persistent Infringement) 80
Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Referee's Assistants: Chris Strickland; Adam Wienckowski
4th Official: Terry Vaughn
Time of Game: 1:49
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial