Jonny Walker is looking to keep the Metros in first place this weekend.
Alan Yamamoto/MLS/

Columbus in town for first-place battle

Up next, Columbus
The MetroStars return home this Sunday when they host the Columbus Crew at 6 p.m. ET (Spanish Radio: WADO 1280 AM). The game will mark the first time Clifton, N.J. native Danny Szetela returns home with the Crew to play at Giants Stadium. In the first game of the season, two Mark Lisi assists helped the "Red and Black" to a 3-1 victory in Columbus on April 3.

Tickets are available for all MetroStars home games at the Continental Airlines Arena box office and at all Ticketmaster outlets. Tickets will also be available through Ticketmaster by phone for callers in New Jersey (201-507-8900), New York (212-307-7171), and for Spanish-speaking customers throughout New York and New Jersey (212-307-4757).

MetroStars on TV
Thursday: Metro Soccer Report - MSG, 11 p.m. ET

Metros still leading
Even with their 1-0 loss in Colorado to the Rapids, the MetroStars have retained the top spot in the Eastern Conference with 32 points. They are now two points ahead of the Columbus Crew and six ahead of D.C. United. The Chicago Fire and New England Revolution are further adrift with each club having amassed 23 points. The Crew have one game in hand over every team in the Eastern Conference.

Copa Budweiser New Jersey
The Ecuastars have been crowned the Copa Budweiser New Jersey Champion and will advance to play the best of New York at Giants Stadium on September 11 in the 2004 Copa Budweiser Metro Championship. The Ecuastars defeated Cortiso/Sport Club Portuguese 4-0 in a spirited final, led by former MetroStar, Martin Klinger at Newark's River Bank Park on Saturday.

Along with the Ecuastars the three group winners from the New Jersey tournament have qualified to play at Giants Stadium. Including Cortiso/Sport Club Portuguese, Kappa Real Wyckoff and Kwik Goal and will face New York's Rochelle United, NY Ecuador Condors, Dragons and the New York Champions, Orion Costa Rica right after the MetroStars' 6 p.m. game against the New England Revolution. The day's festivities will start with a pre-game concert and festival celebrating Budweiser Hispanic Heritage Night at 3 p.m.

Playing like Giants
Despite their loss on August 15, the MetroStars' play at home has been strong this season. They have a record of 6-3-2 in Giants Stadium. They have won six times (April 17, 2004 3-2 vs. D.C. United; May 30, 2004 1-0 vs. Kansas City Wizards; June 19, 2004 2-1 vs. L.A. Galaxy; July 10, 2004 2-0 vs. San Jose Earthquakes; July 24, 2004 2-1 vs. Chicago Fire; August 8, 2004 3-0 vs. L.A. Galaxy), tied twice (April 25, 2004 1-1 vs. New England Revolution; May 15, 2004 1-1 vs. Chicago Fire) and lost three times (June 5, 2004 2-0 vs. Dallas Burn; June 30, 2004 3-2 vs. Colorado Rapids; August 15, 2004 1-0 vs. Dallas Burn).

Shutting the door
The "Red and Black" are generally very solid in closing out games. When the MetroStars are ahead after the 75th minute, they are 8-1-0. In addition, when the Metros score the first goal, they are an impressive 6-1-2.

Fighting for the result
The MetroStars are clutch in close game situations. They are strong in one-goal games this year (5-3-0) and have proven to fight back from a goal down. The Metros are 3-6-3 when going down after conceding the first goal - a record which is the best in the league.

Loving the Red and Black
The MetroStars are 8-3-3 when wearing their red and black-striped jerseys, compared to 1-5-2 when wearing their white kits. The team usually wears their all-white uniforms for away games. In comparison, the MetroStars were 6-6-5 in their red and black uniforms last year while 5-4-4 in their white kits during the 2003 season.

Firing away
The MetroStars are not afraid of shooting the ball. The team leads the league for most shots overall with 347. Their nearest opponent is the Dallas Burn with 312. In addition, the MetroStars are second in the league in shots on goal with 140 strikes - one less than D.C. United. Last season, the MetroStars had 399 shots and 191 shots on goal.

Taking their chances
The high-powered MetroStars offense has been productive this year, scoring 36 goals - tied for most in the league with the L.A. Galaxy and the San Jose Earthquakes. In the 2003 season, the MetroStars' offense scored 40 goals.

The MetroStars are also not afraid of going for goal when they are playing away from Giants Stadium. The MetroStars lead the league in scoring away from home, earning 19 tallies in 11 games. With an average of 1.73 goals per away game, the MetroStars are ahead of the L.A. Galaxy (1.45 average). The Metros are also third in the league in first-half goals with 15.

Not one-hit wonders
MetroStars forward John Wolyniec is the only player to have appeared in each of the Metros' 22 games this season. Additionally, MetroStars Chris Leitch (21 games) is the only player who has played every minute of every game he has appeared in.

Not in the red
The MetroStars have been on good behavior throughout the season. They are the only team that has not earned a red card this season.

Time and TV changes
The MetroStars' September 11 game time against the New England Revolution will be pushed back from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and will be shown on MSG rather than ESPN2. Additionally, the MetroStars' August 29 game against the Columbus Crew will no longer be televised.

Future MetroStars games to feature on HDNet
Two of the MetroStars' remaining games this year will be shown on HDNet. The matches that will feature this service are the MetroStars' September 11 game against New England and October 9 against Columbus.

Scout nights
The MetroStars will be hosting two great Cub Scout nights on August 29 and October 9. Beginning two and a half hours before each game, the MetroStars will have an area set up at Giants Stadium, exclusively for the Cub Scouts to begin the process towards earning their Soccer Belt Loop and Pin. Tickets for the game are discounted for the Scouts and area available by calling the MetroStars at (201) 583-7050.

Name note
When referencing the MetroStars in any print or broadcast media, please note that the team name no longer includes "New York/New Jersey" or "NY/NJ". The team should be solely referred to as the "MetroStars". In addition, if you would like to abbreviate the name, please do so as "Metros" not "Metro".

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