BRADENTON, Fla. - The MetroStars downed San Jose, 1-0, today in their final friendly of the Bradenton, Florida Spring Training trip. Rookie defender Tim Ward netted the game winner in the second half and goalkeepers Mike Ueltschey and Patrick Hannigan combined for the clean sheet.
The match was not without it's negatives for the MetroStars however, as forward Mike Magee went down with a knee injury after getting wrenched between two Earthquake defenders. According to Metros Head Athletic Trainer Stu Schwerner, Magee suffered a sprained left knee. He will have a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) exam at a date to be determined.
San Jose almost struck first early on, but Ueltschey made a terrific save on Brian Mullan's header attempt, diving to his right and deflecting the ball out of danger. The MetroStars were not without their opportunities either, as they had two scoring chances in the first half, but could not finish. On a counterattack, midfielder Amado Guevara made a run before passing off to Abbe Ibrahim. Ibrahim then dished to a streaking Oleg Moskalewiecz whose left-footed try skidded just past the far post.
Moments later, Ibrahim got behind the Earthquake defense and faked out goalkeeper Robbie Fulton with a magical stepover move, but his shot was cleared by defender Chris Aloisi before it crossed the goal line.
In the second half, Ward found some room in the middle of the field and unleashed a dart from 35 yards out that curved past a diving Fulton and gave the Metros a 1-0 lead. It was Ward's first goal of the preseason and his first as a MetroStar.
"I got the ball on the outside and dribbled down the middle and no one stepped to me," said Ward, the MetroStars first round pick in this year's MLS SuperDraft. " [Assistant Coach] Mo [Johnston] has been saying all week that if I get an opportunity to shoot, take it, so I did and the shot went in."
The Metros' back four combination of Ward, Jeff Parke, Jeff Agoos, Tim Regan and Carlos Mendes played well and kept the San Jose attack at bay. The 'Quakes had just two chances in the second half and Hannigan met both challenges.
"Every time I play, I am starting to feel more and more comfortable with them," said Ward. [The Metros' defenders] are real easy to play with because they are always talking and always helping me out."
The MetroStars will fly back to New Jersey on Friday and then depart for Ecuador on Wednesday, February 23.
MetroStars: Mike Ueltschey (Pat Hannigan), Tim Regan, Jeff Agoos (Carlos Mendes), Jeff Parke, Tim Ward, Oleg Moskalewiecz, Amado Guevara (capt.), Michael Bradley (Mark Lisi), Eddie Gaven (John Wolyniec), Mike Magee (Awoudou Moutala), Abbe Ibrahim (Ibrahim).
Earthquakes: Robbie Fulton, Kevin Goldthwaite, Troy Dayak, Chris Aloisi, Roger Levesque, Tighe Dombrowski, Chris Wondolowski, Pablo Paz, Brian Mullan, Orlando Ramirez, Antouman Jallow
(Halves were 40 minutes apiece)