E. RUTHERFORD, N.J. - At the hour mark on Tuesday night at Giants Stadium, the Chicago Fire finally had taken the lead and seemed set to continue their mastery over the MetroStars. But two late goals - both from the wizardry of MetroStars captain Amado Guevara - gave the home side a 2-1 come-from-behind victory.
It was a disappointing end for the Fire, who felt that they could have taken much more from this game, and several times during the second half it was there for the taking.
They took the lead through a 55th-minute penalty by Jesse Marsch, but couldn't add to the lead, and finally allowed an equalizer from John Wolyniec in the 76th minute when he headed home a Guevara free kick.
Another touch of class from Guevara, through a beautiful shot to the upper corner, sealed the win for the MetroStars, their first home win of the season.
Fire coach Dave Sarachan was complimentary to the hosts despite the defeat.
"There's nothing you can do on a goal like that," he said. "We could have maybe cleared the ball earlier but I thought there was a foul. The referee didn't call a foul, and Guevara just hit a bomb."
Still, Sarachan expressed his disappointment with the result.
"For most of the game it was fairly even," said Sarachan. "We got the goal, and I thought we could get the second. If we got it, the game would end. But we kept them in it, and when you keep teams in the game, especially a home team, you get punished. It was a disappointing loss to say the least."
It was that finishing that cost the Fire dear. Chris Rolfe, who had been a thorn in the side of the Metrostars all night, tied the Metrostars in knots with his drive in a forward role.
He won the penalty that led to Marsch's penalty, and a couple of times afterward found himself in good positions but couldn't hit for the killer blow.
Said Marsch: "We have struggled a bit to finish games. Tonight that really hurt us."
It was another lesson in an up-and-down year for the Fire, who saw a modest two-game winning streak snapped with the loss. They had posted shutout victories after losing two consecutive matches in which they were shut out.
"We have to put away games. That's the next step for this team. We lack a killer instinct and we've got to develop it," Sarachan said.
"In a game like this chances aren't enough we have to fight for the second goal. We certainly didn't lack chances, I can't fault the guys for that, but we have to capitalize and get that second or third goal and put it in. Then the game will be over, and a late strike, no matter how good, won't hurt us," said the Fire boss.
Laurence Moroney is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.