Zach Wells came within one save of tying the league record for saves in a game as the MetroStars stretched their unbeaten streak to four games in a scoreless draw with rival D.C. United at Giants Stadium on Sunday night.
Wells bailed the Metros out of a lackluster first half with seven saves and robbed Alecko Eskandarian several times in the second half, making a career-high 14 saves. Tony Meola has the MLS mark for saves in a game with 15 -- also set in a MetroStars-D.C. United match, a 2-1 United victory on April 5, 1997.
D.C. United dominated the opening half hour, holding a 12-2 edge in shots (14-3 for the half) and continually got behind the Metros back four. But United, who have scored three goals in their last four games, wasn't able to find the back of the net.
United's attacking players were given time and space from the start, which led to the barrage of shots on Wells. In the 25th minute Wells dived to his left to stop Dema Kovalenko's first-time volley from the right side of the six-yard box.
The Metros first quality chance came in the 35th minute when Michael Bradley was played through by Youri Djorkaeff, but his low shot from 20 yards out was pushed away by Nick Rimando's dive to his right.
United boss Peter Nowak made one change at the half, bringing on Eskandarian for Santino Quaranta and the local boy made an immediate impact. He was freed towards goal by Christian Gomez's flick header, but his low shot from the right side of the 18-yard box rolled just wide of the far post.
Wells saved his best stuff for the second half. After Kovalenko was tripped up by Carlos Mendes near the top of the box, Eskandarian followed his blocked free kick with a blast that was pushed over the bar by Wells in the 54th minute.
In the 61st minute Wells stopped Eskandarian's diving header and in the 75th minute he lunged to his right to again rob Eskandarian.
Metros coach Bob Bradley made a pair of changes in the final half hour in an attempt to kick start a lethargic attack as Sergio Galvan Rey and Abbe Ibrahim replaced Mike Magee and Ante Razov respectively. One minute after entering the game, Galvan Rey fed Mark Lisi, whose shot was saved by a diving Rimando.
Razov, acquired Tuesday in a trade with Columbus for John Wolyniec and a partial allocation, had started alongside Djorkaeff up top. Mendes started in place of Jeff Agoos, who was out with a hamstring strain.
Razov had a rude welcome to one of best rivalries in MLS when he was crushed by Ben Olsen less than three minutes into the game, then again later in a tackle by Bobby Boswell which earned a booking. The intensity lasted through to the final seconds of the match, when Olsen and Djorkaeff tangled -- a dispute that was still lingering after referee Kevin Terry called a close to the proceedings.
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Zach Wells (MetroStars)
Dylan Butler is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.
D.C. United (3-4-3) vs. MetroStars (4-3-4)
June 12, 2005 -- Giants Stadium
Scoring Summary: NONE
D.C. United -- Nick Rimando, John Wilson (David Stokes 82), Bobby Boswell, Brandon Prideaux, Joshua Gros, Brian Carroll, Christian Gomez (Clyde Simms 72), Ben Olsen, Dema Kovalenko, Santino Quaranta (Alecko Eskandarian 46), Jaime Moreno.
Substitutes Not Used: Troy Perkins, Jamil Walker.
TOTAL SHOTS: 28 (Alecko Eskandarian 7); SHOTS ON GOAL: 14 (Alecko Eskandarian 4); FOULS: 15 (Alecko Eskandarian 4); OFFSIDES: 4 (Jaime Moreno 2); CORNER KICKS: 4 (Christian Gomez 4); SAVES: 4 (Nick Rimando 3)
MetroStars -- Zach Wells, Chris Leitch, Carlos Mendes, Jeff Parke, Tim Regan, Michael Bradley, Mark Lisi, Amado Guevara, Mike Magee (Sergio Galvan Rey 60), Ante Razov (Abbe Ibrahim 69), Youri Djorkaeff.
Substitutes Not Used: Ramon Bailey, Danilo da Silva, Mamadou Diallo, Gilberto Flores, Jason Hernandez, Seth Stammler, Jonny Walker.
TOTAL SHOTS: 8 (Mark Lisi 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (4 tied with 1); FOULS: 15 (Amado Guevara 4); OFFSIDES: 3 (3 tied with 1); CORNER KICKS: 1 (Amado Guevara 1); SAVES: 14 (Zach Wells 14)
DC -- Bobby Boswell (caution; Pushing, Holding) 12
MET -- Amado Guevara (caution; Pushing, Holding) 41
MET -- Carlos Mendes (caution; Professional Foul) 52
DC -- Brian Carroll (caution; Pushing, Holding) 81
MET -- Chris Leitch (caution; Pushing, Holding) 84
MET -- Mark Lisi (caution; Professional Foul) 86
Referee: Kevin Terry
Referee's Assistants: -Fabio Tovar; Anthony Vasoli
4th Official: Lee Suckel
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-86-degrees
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.