Chivas USA was winless in 11 games on the road this year and had a league-worst 12 points out of 23 games. But that was before Juan Francisco Palencia joined the team.
The Mexican international scored two goals in the opening 22 minutes of his MLS debut and fellow newcomer Juan Pablo Garcia added a 39th-minute chip to give the expansion side a 3-1 lead at the half. But the MetroStars roared back on the strength of an Amado Guevara hat trick, including a stoppage time strike, to roar back and earn a 3-3 tie Sunday at Giants Stadium, the second point on the road for Chivas this season.
After scoring from a pair of penalty kicks, the Honduran international beat Chivas 'keeper Brad Guzan with a sublime bending strike inside the far post off a feed from Youri Djorkaeff on a free kick to extend the Metros home unbeaten streak to nine games.
Along with Garcia, Hector Castro and Sergio Garcia, Palencia was formally introduced in a Times Square press conference Friday. And two days later, the fiery forward with the blue painted fingernails made his triumphant MLS debut.
Before Palencia's magic, Guevara put the MetroStars in front 1-0 on a fifth-minute penalty kick. After Eddie Gaven was tripped by Ramon Ramirez, Guevara stepped to the spot and beat Guzan to the 'keeper's left for his team-leading seventh goal.
And then "Paco" took over.
He tapped in Douglas Sequeira's flick of a Orlando Perez corner in the 17th minute. Five minutes later Palencia completed his double when he picked up Ryan Suarez's attempted clearance near the top of the box and beat Tony Meola from 22 yards out.
Not to be outdone by Palencia, Garcia scored his first MLS goal in the 39th minute, when he took a feed from Arturo Torres and lofted it over Meola's right shoulder.
The Metros got within 3-2 on Guevara's second penalty kick of the game -- again to Guzan's left and again off a Gaven foul in the 69th minute.
One minute later Metros coach Bob Bradley made a double substitution, bringing on Abbe Ibrahim for Mike Magee and Danilo da Silva for Suarez. And in the 73rd minute Ibrahim's first-time volley of a Galvan Rey cross bounced off the top netting.
Five minutes later Djorkaeff had a scoring chance, but his shot from 12 yards out was blocked by a sliding Sequeira into Guzan.
Guevara capped off a feisty final 10 minutes with a world-class goal, bringing the Metros to within five points of the fourth and final playoff spot and ending Chivas USA's hopes for a first-ever road win.
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Amado Guevara (MetroStars)
Dylan Butler is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.
Chivas USA (3-17-4) vs. MetroStars (8-7-9)
August 21, 2005 -- Giants Stadium
MET -- Amado Guevara 7 (penalty kick) 5
CHV -- Juan Francisco Palencia 1 (Douglas Sequeira 1, Orlando Perez 3) 17
CHV -- Juan Francisco Palencia 2 (unassisted) 22
CHV -- Juan Pablo Garcia 1 (Arturo Torres 1) 39
MET -- Amado Guevara 8 (penalty kick) 69
MET -- Amado Guevara 9 (Youri Djorkaeff 5) 94+
Chivas USA -- Brad Guzan, Ezra Hendrickson, Orlando Perez, Armando Begines, Ramon Ramirez (Isaac Romo 89), Juan Pablo Garcia (Hector Cuadros 82), Douglas Sequeira, Francisco Mendoza, Arturo Torres (Jesus Ochoa 77), Juan Francisco Palencia, Antonio Martinez.
Substitutes Not Used: Sergio Garcia, Mike Munoz.
TOTAL SHOTS: 10 (Juan Pablo Garcia 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Juan Pablo Garcia 3); FOULS: 20 (Orlando Perez 4); OFFSIDES: 1 (Hector Cuadros 1); CORNER KICKS: 5 (Antonio Martinez 2, Ramon Ramirez 2); SAVES: 5 (Brad Guzan 5)
MetroStars -- Tony Meola, Tim Ward (Eric Quill 84), Jeff Parke, Ryan Suarez (Abbe Ibrahim 70), Tim Regan, Eddie Gaven, Michael Bradley, Amado Guevara, Mike Magee (Danilo da Silva 70), Youri Djorkaeff, Sergio Galvan Rey.
Substitutes Not Used: Ramon Bailey, Chris Corcoran, Jason Hernandez, Seth Stammler, Zach Wells.
TOTAL SHOTS: 20 (Youri Djorkaeff 4, Tim Ward 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 8 (Amado Guevara 3); FOULS: 14 (3 tied with 3); OFFSIDES: 4 (4 tied with 1); CORNER KICKS: 8 (Amado Guevara 7); SAVES: 4 (Tony Meola 4)
MET -- Michael Bradley (caution; Pushing, Holding) 25
CHV -- Juan Pablo Garcia (caution; Encroachment) 46+
MET -- Jeff Parke (caution; Pushing, Holding) 51
CHV -- Francisco Mendoza (caution; Dissent) 69
CHV -- Ezra Hendrickson (caution; Delaying a Restart) 80
CHV -- Hector Cuadros (caution; Professional Foul) 86
MET -- Tony Meola (caution; Professional Foul) 86
CHV -- Juan Francisco Palencia (caution; Professional Foul) 91+
Referee: Michael Kennedy
Referee's Assistants: -Steven Taylor; Chip Reed
4th Official: Lee Suckel
Time of Game: 1:55
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.