In a battle between Major League Soccer's first-place sides, the MetroStars continued their season-long dominance over the Los Angeles Galaxy with a 3-0 victory on Sunday night at Giants Stadium.
Amado Guevara, Eddie Gaven and John Wolyniec scored for the Metros, who extended their lead at the top of the Eastern Conference to seven points over the Columbus Crew in defeating the Western Conference-leading Galaxy for the third time in three meetings this season.
Guevara scored from the penalty spot late in the first half, then Gaven and Wolyniec hit home three minutes apart for the final margin. A chippy match from the start saw the Galaxy reduced to 10 men in the 68th minute when Chris Albright was sent off for a hard retaliation against MetroStars defender Chris Leitch.
Fouls were a part of the play throughout, and the first quality chance of the evening came seven minutes in when Guevara blasted a free kick into the wall from 23 yards away.
The Galaxy's first meaningful buildup did not occur until the 14th minute following a take away in their defensive third. The Western leaders pushed the ball quickly through the midfield, but the play died on an errant, left-sided cross off the foot of Andreas Herzog.
Guevara had more chances to put the Metros on top with first half free kicks. He stood over a dangerous set piece just off the left edge of the Galaxy penalty area, but his 23rd-minute service was easily cleared out. In the 33rd minute he lofted a long ball from midfield on a set piece and Galaxy goalkeeper Kevin Hartman had to come off his line to make the catch over Wolyniec.
In the 35th minute, the MetroStars won a penalty kick when Wolyniec raced against Tyrone Marshall after a loose ball bouncing towards Hartman's goal line. Wolyniec won the race and Marshall shoved him over, drawing the penalty kick call and the wrath of the Galaxy, who protested the call en masse. The MetroStars had just moments earlier protested when Wolyniec backed into Ryan Suarez and both players fell in the box while referee Alex Prus ruled for play to continue.
Once the Galaxy ceased their arguing, Guevara buried his 10th goal of the season with a right-footed shot to the right post while Hartman dove the wrong way. The goal tied Guevara for the top spot for the MLS Golden Boot and padded his lead in the Budweiser scoring race.
The half came to a furious end with both teams securing chances in the final minutes. In the 44th minute, Cornell Glen twice penetrated the Galaxy defense and forced Hartman into tricky saves. The first was a near-post shot covered perfectly by Hartman. The second was a straight-forward shot after beating Albright that bounced off the defender and forced Hartman to lunge to his left where he was finally able to knock the shot down.
On the ensuing counter, defender Paul Broome made a dynamic run on the ball through the MetroStars defense and wound up taking a wide-angled shot that Jonny Walker cut down with relative ease.
Then on the final sequence of the half, Jocelito Vaca sent a far post corner kick to Glen, whose header appeared to find the goal when Cobi Jones leaped up to swat it away with his right hand. The crowd erupted in anticipation of a red card and another penalty, but the referee's sssistant had blown the play dead, ruling that Vaca's corner had crossed out-of-bounds before reaching Glen.
The Galaxy made no personnel changes at halftime, but they came out a new side. They put together several nice combinations to start the second half, but were unable to capitalize on their opportunities. Despite a beautiful display of possession soccer in and around their attacking third over the initial quarter hour of the half, they could not muster a quality chance.
The MetroStars then struck suddenly on the counterattack. Wolyniec collected the ball in midfield and laid it off for Mike Magee, who hesitated before sending a no-look left-footed through ball to Eddie Gaven. The teenage sensation got behind the defense and sidefooted past Hartman with one touch to extend the lead in the 61st minute.
Three minutes later, the MetroStars completed the scoring with the day's most exquisite goal. After Albright leveled Gaven to win a free kick for the Metros, Guevara sent a long ball to Glen in the left side of the area. The Trinidad & Tobago international crossed to Wolyniec, who sidefooted a volley out of midair with his right foot to put a bow on the 3-0 victory.
Four minutes later, Albright was sent off and the teams played out the final 22 minutes without much important action.
The MetroStars (9-6-5, 32 points) completed a three-game season sweep of the Galaxy in which they outscored their western rivals 8-1. It was also the Metros' third consecutive win in league play, and they will have a long week to prepare for next Sunday's home match against the Dallas Burn.
The Galaxy (9-6-6, 33 points) completed their four-game road trip without a victory (0-1-3) and are winless in MLS since July 10. They remain one point clear of the Kansas City Wizards in the Western Conference, returning to The Home Depot Center next Saturday night to play host to the Columbus Crew.
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: John Wolyniec (MetroStars)
MET -- Amado Guevara 10 (penalty kick) 36
MET -- Eddie Gaven 5 (Mike Magee 3, John Wolyniec 2) 61
MET -- John Wolyniec 6 (Cornell Glen 2, Amado Guevara 8) 64
Los Angeles Galaxy: Kevin Hartman; Chris Albright, Tyrone Marshall, Ryan Suarez (Hong Myung-Bo 75), Paul Broome (Peter Vagenas 70); Cobi Jones, Marcelo Saragosa, Andreas Herzog, Sasha Victorine; Carlos Ruiz, Jovan Kirovski (Alejandro Moreno 70).
Substitutes not used: Dan Popik, Ned Grabavoy.
TOTAL SHOTS: 11; SHOTS ON GOAL: 2; TOTAL SAVES: 3; FOULS: 22; OFFSIDES: 3; CORNER KICKS: 6
MetroStars: Jonny Walker; Tenywa Bonseu, Jeff Parke, Eddie Pope, Chris Leitch; Joselito Vaca, Amado Guevara (Mark Lisi 86), Mike Magee (Ricardo Clark 82), Eddie Gaven; Cornell Glen, John Wolyniec (Sergio Galvan Rey 86).
Substitutes not used: Zach Wells, Seth Stammler, Kenny Arena, Tim Regan
TOTAL SHOTS: 9; SHOTS ON GOAL: 6; TOTAL SAVES: 2; FOULS: 12; OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 4
MET -- Mike Magee (caution; Tackle from Behind) 12
LA -- Ryan Suarez (caution; Tackle from Behind) 22
MET -- Eddie Gaven (caution; Pushing, Holding) 39
LA -- Marcelo Saragosa (caution; Tackle from Behind) 49
LA -- Chris Albright (ejection; Violent Conduct) 68
LA -- Hong Myung-Bo (caution; Tackle from Behind) 77
Referee: Alex Prus
Referee's Assistants: Craig Lowry; Richard Eddy
4th Official: Mark Geiger
Weather: Sunny -and- 77 degrees
All Statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.