The MetroStars defeated the Chicago Fire 2-0 Monday afternoon in the first-ever Hall of Fame Game, a lightly contested exhibition match held at At-a-Glance Field at the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, N.Y.
With the playoffs just around the bend and important matches on the last weekend of the regular season looming, both teams trotted out lineups heavy with reserves. The match was played at a leisurely pace, and hard challenges were few and far between.
Both of the goals came late in the first half, as Metros midfielder Pablo Brenes struck two minutes before the halftime whistle and forward Fabian Taylor pounded home a left-footed shot in stoppage time. Aside from the two goals, there were few good chances for either team.
What was perhaps the Fire's best chance of the match came in the 84th minute from one of Monday's honorees, former Fire striker Eric Wynalda. The former U.S. international entered the match for Nate Jaqua in the 73rd minute and nearly capped off his day with a goal, but pushed his shot from the top of the box wide right.
The Fire had another chance late in the game to cut the deficit in half, but Alexandre Boucicaut's shot went high after midfielder Sumed Ibrahim found him at the far post.
The MetroStars concentrated much of their attack through Joselito Vaca and Taylor on the right side, but like the Fire, did not play with great urgency as bigger challenges lie ahead.
Both the Metros and the Fire go on the road this weekend to finish the 2004 MLS regular season. The MetroStars visit D.C. United on Sunday (5 p.m. ET; ESPN2), while the Fire travel to New England to take on the Revolution on Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET; FSW/FSE).
Jason Halpin is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.