Contrary to popular belief, the presence of the MetroStars' Youri Djorkaeff and Eddie Gaven and the Los Angeles Galaxy's Landon Donovan were not necessary in providing an entertaining match for fans at The Home Depot Center.
The MetroStars ended an arduous five-match, 14-day stretch with another away result. Substitute Sergio Galvan Rey's third goal this season, a fine 72nd-minute finish, provided for a 2-2 draw before 20,331 fans.
With a week off before hosting D.C. United, the Metros (4-3-4) improved to 3-1-1 on the road and have not lost to the Galaxy (6-2-2) in their last seven meetings.
The Metros played their first match without Gaven, who left midweek for Holland to play for the United States in the FIFA World Youth (U-20) Championships. Mark Lisi got the nod in midfield in Gaven's place.
Djorkaeff did not make the West Coast trip after straining his left calf in Tuesday's home win against Chicago. John Wolyniec replaced the French World Cup winner in the first 11.
Donovan, the Galaxy's premier playmaker, scored twice Saturday, but for the U.S. in a World Cup qualifying win over Costa Rica.
Yet, the theme of the match was about going forward as the Metros defied conventional wisdom with their willingness to play end-to-end with the Galaxy on MLS' largest pitch.
Continually dangerous on set pieces, the first chance -- and goal -- of the match went to the visitor five minutes in. Amado Guevara's curling, left-side corner kick ran onto Abbe Ibrahim's far-post scoring header after Wolyniec stood in the way of Galaxy goalkeeper Kevin Hartman's attempted punch at the ball.
It was Ibrahim's second goal, and the Metros' first goal off a corner, and fastest goal, this season.
The East Coasters could have taken total command of the match within the first 16 minutes had Wolyniec's glancing header off Mike Magee's right-side cross not missed the far, left goalpost by inches in the 13th minute and Magee, played behind the Galaxy defense and with acres of space inside the penalty area, not lofted a 15-yard shot over Hartman, the crossbar and onto the roof of the net.
The Galaxy found a 19th-minute equalizer at the spot after Cobi Jones checked back to an onside position to receive Jovan Kirovski's through ball into the right side of the area and had his legs swept out from under him by Metros 'keeper Zach Wells as Jones pushed his first touch by.
Kirovski executed the penalty in pushing his kick right and sending Wells the wrong way.
Still, the MetroStars looked like they were tipped to regain the lead. In the 25th minuite, Wolyniec got his left foot on the end of Guevara's curling, 50-yard free kick into the far side of the area, only to carom his 8-yard shot off the left, near post.
Two minutes later, Metros centerback Jeff Agoos, who missed his side's previous three matches with a strained right hamstring, swung in a left-foot corner that was headed high over the bar by defender Jeff Parke from seven yards. Parke also missed an open header high of the bar from Magee's free kick outside the area's top, right edge in the 45th minute.
The pendulum of offensive momentum swung the Galaxy's way again. A minute after Kirovski's gentle volley of Peter Vagenas' curling, low center was lofted over the bar, the Galaxy struck for a 34th-minute lead on a fairly innocent-looking play.
Left back Todd Dunivant boomed a switching ball out of the Galaxy half, but Metros left back Tim Regan could not catch up to cut it out. The ball bounced behind him and through to the streaking winger Jones, who first-touched the bouncing ball near the top, right edge of the area over the onrushing Wells into the open net.
The aging Jones, who turns 35 in a week and a half, proved his fitness level is still high in tracking back cut off Wolyniec's tight ball for Guevara inside the area, denying a scoring chance.
The second half saw the MetroStars bring on Galvan Rey for Ibrahim, and looked more for the counterattack.
Galaxy substitute Herculez Gomez sent a bouncing center in from the right that ran through the 6-yard box and was touched out for a corner by defender Chris Leitch. The ensuing corner was not cleared and led to Ednaldo da Conceicao's harmless bicycle kick a few yards wide left in the 55th minute.
The Metros, sitting back slightly more, weren't creating the chances they did in the first half as it could not link on the final ball.
That changed in the 72nd minute as Magee received a ball from the right flank, passed ahead to Lisi 30 yards straightaway from goal, and Lisi sent a ball between two defenders that was rewarded with a fine, first-time, right-foot finish from Galvan Rey, running into the area from the left, that curled past Hartman and just inside the right post.
Wolyniec was played into the right side of the area, muscled his way past Dunivant only for Hartman to charge out and block the ball away from Wolyniec near the end line. A minute later Magee's searching ball from the right missed Galvan Rey's redirecting toe-poke just in front of Hartman by a foot.
The Metros got an 89th-minute let-off from the Galaxy -- Paul Broome's cross from the left was deflected to Gomez, who headed towards goal from the top of the area. Guevara's clearing header went off Jones' head and dropped for Pablo Chinchilla's open, 6-yard half-volley that should have been put on target but flew over the 'keeper Wells and the bar.
The last ball of the match was struck by Regan, sneaking in to provide a hard shot right at Hartman. While it prevented another away victory, the Metros had to feel good about securing a deserved draw.
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Sergio Galvan Rey (MetroStars)
Damian Secore is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.
MetroStars (4-3-4) vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (6-2-2)
June 04, 2005 -- The Home Depot Center
MET -- Abbe Ibrahim 2 (Amado Guevara 5) 5
LA -- Jovan Kirovski 4 (penalty kick) 19
LA -- Cobi Jones 3 (Todd Dunivant 1, Ugo Ihemelu 1) 34
MET -- Sergio Galvan Rey 3 (Mark Lisi 2, Mike Magee 3) 72
MetroStars -- Zach Wells, Chris Leitch, Jeff Parke, Jeff Agoos, Tim Regan, Mike Magee, Michael Bradley, Mark Lisi, Amado Guevara, Abbe Ibrahim (Sergio Galvan Rey 46), John Wolyniec.
Substitutes Not Used: Gilberto Flores, Carlos Mendes, Seth Stammler, Jonny Walker.
TOTAL SHOTS: 13 (Jeff Parke 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (4 tied with 1); FOULS: 12 (Mark Lisi 3, Tim Regan 3); OFFSIDES: 10 (John Wolyniec 5); CORNER KICKS: 10 (Amado Guevara 5); SAVES: 3 (Zach Wells 3)
Los Angeles Galaxy -- Kevin Hartman, Pablo Chinchilla, Ugo Ihemelu, Troy Roberts, Todd Dunivant, Peter Vagenas, Paulo Nagamura, Ned Grabavoy (Herculez Gomez 46), Cobi Jones, Ednaldo da Conceicao (Paul Broome 76), Jovan Kirovski.
Substitutes Not Used: Benjamin Benditson, Mubarike Chisoni, Steve Cronin, Michael Enfield, Josh Gardner, Guillermo Gonzalez.
TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (Ednaldo da Conceicao 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Cobi Jones 2); FOULS: 13 (Todd Dunivant 3, Jovan Kirovski 3); OFFSIDES: 10 (Jovan Kirovski 5); CORNER KICKS: 5 (Jovan Kirovski 5); SAVES: 2 (Kevin Hartman 2)
LA -- Todd Dunivant (caution; Reckless Foul) 45
MET -- Amado Guevara (caution; Dissent) 60
MET -- Tim Regan (caution; Reckless Foul) 66
MET -- Sergio Galvan Rey (caution; Tackle from Behind) 75
LA -- Troy Roberts (caution; Tackle from Behind) 90
Referee: Abiodun Okulaja
Referee's Assistants: -Thomas Supple; Adam Wienckowski
4th Official: Ian Anderson
Time of Game: 1:51
All Statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.