It might just be that the MetroStars are becoming a smarter team. On Sunday they welcomed the league's top side into Giants Stadium -- and sent the Los Angeles Galaxy back to California with their tails between their legs following a 3-0 score.
Yet it was not the final numbers on the scoreboard, but they way they were arrived at those numbers which impressed MetroStars coach Bob Bradley.
"It was a good win," he said. "I think the team is playing with more confidence."
The two key points in the match for the MetroStars were overcoming the Galaxy's fast start to the second half and not losing composure during a foul-filled match that nearly exploded.
"I think there is more leadership on the field in these situations," Bradley said. "The reminder at halftime was that we had a 1-0 lead and know how to play to finish the game. Maybe some of the lessons of the season are starting to pay off. That's the way it is supposed to be."
The Metros had every chance to relinquish the lead after halftime when the Galaxy came out fast and furious. But they played solid defense until a 61st-minute counterattack ended with Mike Magee springing Eddie Gaven for the second goal, which all but sealed the result.
"Every game is going to be physical," Gaven said. "I think tonight's game was definitely a bit more physical than others for some reason. But that's fine. I think maybe our team raises its level of play when the game is that physical and I think that showed today because we played really well today and won 3-0."
Said Amado Guevara, who scored his 10th goal of the season and leads the league in scoring: "I like the team. As a team we feel pretty good. The score tonight reflects how we play the game."
Despite the third loss to the MetroStars in three meetings this season -- two by 3-0 scorelines -- Galaxy boss Sigi Schmid wasn't overly concerned. "It was one of those games. I do not think that we started very well. We took a lot of fouls early that led to a bunch of free kicks for (the MetroStars)," Schmid said. "In the second half, we started to control the game and exert some pressure on them. The second goal came at a bad time, it was a back-breaker.
"Right now, the MetroStars have our number. I hope to play them one more time and by then I hope we will have theirs."
Dan Lauletta is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.