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E. RUTHERFORD, N.Y.
6 pm CT (MSG; KCAL)
It's another top-of-the-table clash for the Los Angeles Galaxy, who will once again look for some success against the MetroStars as the two conference leaders meet at Giants Stadium. The MetroStars have opened a five-point bulge in the Eastern Conference, and they knocked off the Galaxy twice in four days in a cross-country home-and-home set earlier this year. The Galaxy still lead the Western Conference after the Kansas City Wizards twice failed on chances to overtake them, but they haven't beaten the Metros in two seasons.
REFEREE: Alex Prus. SAR (bench): Craig Lowry; JAR (opposite): Richard Eddy; 4th: Mark Geiger
MLS Career: 76 games; FC/gm: 30.6; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 17; pens: 27
Games involving MetroStars: P8 W2 L5 T1; FC/gm: 29.4; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 1; pens: 3
Games involving Galaxy: P20 W9 L6 T5; FC/gm: 29.3; Y/gm: 3.9; R: 3; pens: 7
METROSTARS - OUT: MD Michael Bradley (R foot stress fracture); MD Gilberto Flores (L ankle ruptured tendon); DF Craig Ziadie (L knee LCL sprain); DOUBTFUL: FW Fabian Taylor (R knee LCL sprain
LOS ANGELES GALAXY - OUT: DF Danny Califf (L torn meniscus); QUESTIONABLE: MD Peter Vagenas (groin strain); PROBABLE: DF Ryan Suarez (back strain).
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: MET: Pablo Brenes (Costa Rica Olympic team)
YELLOW PERIL: MET: Ricardo Clark (18 CP); Amado Guevara (18 CP) ... LA: Chris Albright (18 CP); Paul Broome (20 CP); Carlos Ruiz (20 CP); Ryan Suarez (20 CP); Peter Vagenas (10 CP in 2 gms)
ALL-TIME (22 meetings): MetroStars 9 wins (1 shootout), 29 goals; Galaxy 11 wins (1 shootout), 34 goals ... 2 draws
AT MEADOWLANDS (12 meetings): MetroStars 6 wins (1 shootout), 16 goals ... Galaxy 5 wins (1 shootout), 15 goals ... 1 draw
This is the third and final meeting between the two teams this season, after the MetroStars won both legs of a home-and-home cross-country series over four days in June.
The MetroStars claimed a 3-0 victory at the Home Depot Center on June 23, hitting for a three-goal blitz in the first half and shutting out the Galaxy for the first time this season. The 3-0 loss was their heaviest-ever league defeat at The Home Depot Center.
Amado Guevara notched the first goal of the night before turning provider on a pair of beautiful goals from 17-year-old Eddie Gaven to give the Metros sole ownership of the top spot in the Eastern Conference table.
Guevara had a hand in all three goals in his first match back with the Metros after missing the previous two while representing Honduras in World Cup qualifying. His goal came on a blistering 25-yard strike by Guevara in the 16th minute.
Gaven then sealed the deal before the end of the opening stanza with two splendid finishes within four minutes. He cut past Marcelo Saragosa before slotting home from close range in the 39th minute, then skipped through traffic before curling a shot around Hartman's dive and inside his right-hand post (43).
Here's Bob Bradley's team (4-4-2): Jonny Walker - Chris Leitch, Jeff Parke, Eddie Pope, Tim Regan - Amado Guevara, Gilberto Flores, Ricardo Clark, Eddie Gaven (Sergio Galvan Rey 79) - Mike Magee (Pablo Brenes 72), John Wolyniec (Cornell Glen 58).
Here's Sigi Schmid's team (4-3-1-2): Kevin Hartman - Ricky Lewis (Sasha Victorine 46), Danny Califf, Ryan Suarez (Joseph Ngwenya 66), Paul Broome - Cobi Jones, Marcelo Saragosa, Ned Grabavoy (Alejandro Moreno 72) - Andreas Herzog - Carlos Ruiz, Jovan Kirovski
Four days earlier, the MetroStars stunned the Galaxy with a last-minute goal in a 2-1 victory at Giants Stadium as Bradley started the youngest-ever team in league history.
One of those 'kids' - defender Kenny Arena, son of U.S. national team manager Bruce - was credited with his first professional goal when a corner kick deflected off him in the penalty area scrum to give the Metros a first-half lead (42).
Just two minutes after the break Andreas Herzog equalized from the penalty spot after Jeff Parke was whistled for a handball on a cross, a decision that was bitterly protested by the MetroStars. But 19-year-old Eddie Gaven scored the match-winner just before the clock ticked over to the final minute, powering home a header past Galaxy substitute 'keeper Dan Popik.
A year ago, the MetroStars posted the only victory in the series, with two games ending in draws. The clubs played to a 1-1 draw at Giants Stadium on April 19 (Moreno 42 pen - Jones 20); before Metro won at home on June 21 by the only goal (Magee 65).
The teams then played to a 1-1 draw in their only meeting at The Home Depot Center, the MetroStars grabbing a late result (Serna 13 - Wolyniec 86).
It was just the second time the MetroStars had claimed the season series between the two teams, the first coming in 1997 (thanks to a shootout win). The teams had shared the spoils, each winning one game, in 2000, 2001 and 2002, with Los Angeles winning the series three of the first four years.
Only six current Metro players have scored goals against the Galaxy - Eddie Gaven and Mike Magee each with two, while Amado Guevara, Eddie Pope, John Wolyniec and Kenny Arena all have one.
Cobi Jones is the Galaxy's all-time leader against the MetroStars with 6 goals, 10 assists. Carlos Ruiz has 3 goals, while just three others - Ryan Suarez, Chris Albright and Andreas Herzog - have goals against the Metros, only Herzog's coming while playing for Los Angeles.
Coaches record: Bob Bradley v LA: P21 W8 L10 D3 ... Sigi Schmid vs. MET: P13 W5 L6 D2
The MetroStars come into the final third of the campaign in first place in the Eastern Conference, with 29 points from 19 matches. They now lead the tight division by five points ahead of D.C. United, where places two through five are separated by six points. In their final match before the All-Star break, Metro ran their unbeaten streak to four games with a quality 2-1 away victory against the Kansas City Wizards.
The MetroStars took a 23rd minute lead when John Wolyniec rounded Wizards central defender Jimmy Conrad on the right wing and sent in a low ball for an unmarked Cornell Glen, who neatly sidefooted home past 'keeper Tony Meola.
But the Wizards leveled on 36 minutes after Eddie Pope was adjudged to have pulled back Davy Arnaud in the box, and Chris Klein stepped up to convert the penalty. In the 51st minute the Wizards won a second penalty when Tenywa Bonseu clipped Francisco Gomez from behind, but this time Walker saved Klein's spot kick.
The Metros made them pay when Guevara whipped a free kick over the wall from the edge of the area, curling a right-footed shot into the right upper corner of the goal past a helpless Meola for his ninth tally of the campaign.
Metro coach Bob Bradley didn't make any changes to the team that ended two years of frustration and gave him his 100th league win in a 2-1 victory against the Chicago Fire the previous weekend. Here's Bradley's team (4-3-1-2): Jonny Walker - Tenywa Bonseu, Jeff Parke, Eddie Pope, Chris Leitch - Joselito Vaca (Tim Regan 89), Amado Guevara, Eddie Gaven - Mike Magee - Cornell Glen (Sergio Galvan Rey 71), John Wolyniec (Fabian Taylor 79).
It was the third consecutive game Mike Magee has filled a role in behind the front two, with Amado Guerava in a deeper holding role and Eddie Gaven on the left side of the midfield.
"I don't get caught up with midfield-forward," Bradley said. "(Magee) has special qualities. When he plays in the midfield he sees things really well. He passes well. He has learned to work harder on the field. Like a lot of talented young players, he always got away with being able to hang out as long as he could to pull off a couple of plays a game. I think he has recognized as the levels get higher there's a lot more to it."
LOS ANGELES GALAXY
The Los Angeles Galaxy enter the final third of the season in first place in the Western Conference and with the best overall record in MLS, with 33 points from 20 matches, one ahead of the Kansas City Wizards (who have a game in hand). The Galaxy entered the All-Star break by doing what they could to remain atop the West, a late goal giving them a come-from-behind 2-2 draw with the Wizards at Arrowhead Stadium in a top-of-the-table clash. The draw extended the Galaxy's unbeaten run to six matches as they went the month of July without a loss.
The match between the clubs separated by just a point in both the MLS overall table and the West had a playoff intensity from the start, each team also riding unbeaten streaks.
But the game truly exploded into life when the Wizards scored twice in a three-minute span just before the hour, Davy Arnaud first finishing off a neat tic-tac-toe movement with a rolling shot from inside the area past Galaxy 'keeper Kevin Hartman (57), then Jack Jewsbury ripping home a low blast from outside the area.
Yet it took just six minutes for the Galaxy to respond, Carlos Ruiz playing a perfect dummy on a Cobi Jones cross, Sasha Victorine left alone to coolly sweep it home.
Then after tempers had flared and threatened to boil over, in the fifth minute of stoppage time Andreas Herzog whipped in a rebound of a cleared corner, Tyrone Marshall sending a glancing header inside Tony Meola's far post to keep Los Angeles ahead in the West.
Galaxy boss Sigi Schmid made three changes to the team that played to a scoreless draw with Colorado Rapids in their previous league match. Chris Albright returned from suspension as Hong Myung-Bo didn't make the trip, while Cobi Jones and Jovan Kirovski returned from minor niggles to come in for Arturo Torres and Alejandro Moreno.
Here's Schmid's team (4-3-1-2): Kevin Hartman - Chris Albright, Tyrone Marshall, Ryan Suarez, Paul Broome - Cobi Jones, Marcelo Saragosa (Alejandro Moreno 87), Sasha Victorine - Andreas Herzog - Jovan Kirovski, Carlos Ruiz