Eddie Gaven scored a pair of goals as the MetroStars continued to confound the usual expectations, rolling to a 3-0 victory against the Chicago Fire on Saturday night at Soldier Field.
It was a second victory in two road games for the MetroStars, who are winless in four games at their home of Giants Stadium.
After Amado Guevara took advantage of a dreadful error midway through the first half, Gaven doubled the lead just before halftime and then hit for his second just after the hour to give coach Bob Bradley just his second-ever victory against his former club.
The two Eastern Conference rivals squared off under blustery conditions that were not conducive to strong technical soccer. With a swirling wind whipping through the stadium and making every ball in the air an adventure, it was apparent from the opening touch that both teams were at a loss as to how to retain extended possession.
The MetroStars played a very opportunistic game in the first half. They protected their goal for the first 20-plus minutes as the Fire pressed with the wind at their backs.
The Metros took advantage of the first Fire breakdown in the 23rd minute, as Fire defender Samuel Caballero controlled a ball at the top of the penalty area and attempted to slide it across to fellow defender Jim Curtin. Unfortunately for the Fire, Curtin had his back turned and never saw the pass coming.
MetroStars midfielder and 2004 MLS MVP Guevara pounced on the gift and stepped into a solid shot from 15 yards out. Fire 'keeper Zach Thornton made a tremendous effort just to get a piece of the well-struck ball, but the ball's momentum carried it across the Fire goalline, and Guevara had his fourth goal of the year, giving the MetroStars the lead.
In the 45th minute, Caballero suffered another costly error. MetroStars midfielder Youri Djorkaeff drove a solid pass from the left touchline towards the top of the Fire penalty area. Caballero appeared to reach out with his foot to intercept the ball, but he missed, and the ball settled onto the foot of Gaven, who displayed great poise in waiting for the helpless Thornton to commit. Once he went down, Gaven placed a low drive into the Fire goal, giving the MetroStars a two-goal lead right before the half.
The second half turned out to be more of the same for the opportunistic MetroStars. With a 2-0 lead and the wind at their backs, they settled into a defensive posture from the outset.
They appeared to be quite comfortable in counterattack mode, which led to their third goal in the 62nd minute. MetroStars forward Mike Magee sent a quick pass from right near midfield which sprung Guevara on a potential breakaway.
But after a long run at goal, he pulled up as two Fire defenders converged on him at the top of the Fire penalty area, and then threaded a pass to a streaking Eddie Gaven, who was unmarked and fired in another low shot past a stunned Thornton for his second goal of the game and a 3-0 lead.
The Fire forced MetroStars goalkeeper Zach Wells into a couple of saves late in the match, one coming on a neat move from the Fire's Slovakian striker, Lubos Reiter, and another from substitute Thiago, but over the final stages they rarely threatened and the visitors eased home.
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Eddie Gaven (MetroStars)
Toby True is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.
MetroStars (2-2-2) vs. Chicago Fire (3-4-1)
May 14, 2005 -- Soldier Field
MET -- Amado Guevara 4 (unassisted) 23
MET -- Eddie Gaven 1 (Youri Djorkaeff 2) 45
MET -- Eddie Gaven 2 (Amado Guevara 1, Mike Magee 1) 62
MetroStars -- Zach Wells, Chris Leitch, Jeff Agoos, Tim Regan, Tim Ward, Eddie Gaven, Michael Bradley, Mark Lisi, Amado Guevara, Mike Magee, Youri Djorkaeff.
Substitutes Not Used: Gilberto Flores, Abbe Ibrahim, Jeff Parke, Jonny Walker, John Wolyniec.
TOTAL SHOTS: 8 (Eddie Gaven 3, Amado Guevara 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Eddie Gaven 3); FOULS: 21 (Eddie Gaven 4); OFFSIDES: 3 (Youri Djorkaeff 2); CORNER KICKS: 1 (Amado Guevara 1); SAVES: 5 (Zach Wells 5)
Chicago Fire -- Zach Thornton, Tony Sanneh, Jim Curtin, Samuel Caballero (Jack Stewart 46), John Thorrington (Thiago 60), Chris Armas, Jesse Marsch (Chad Barrett 76), Ivan Guerrero, Chris Rolfe, Andy Herron, Lubos Reiter.
Substitutes Not Used: Kelly Gray, Nate Jaqua, Will John, David Mahoney, Logan Pause, Gonzalo Segares.
TOTAL SHOTS: 6 (Lubos Reiter 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Lubos Reiter 3); FOULS: 19 (3 tied with 3); OFFSIDES: 6 (Lubos Reiter 4); CORNER KICKS: 5 (Chris Armas 4); SAVES: 3 (Zach Thornton 3)
MET -- Tim Regan (caution; Reckless Foul) 32
MET -- Chris Leitch (caution; Pushing, Holding) 37
CHI -- Lubos Reiter (caution; Tackle from Behind) 47
MET -- Michael Bradley (caution; Persistent Infringement) 80
Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Referee's Assistants: Chris Strickland; Adam Wienckowski
4th Official: Terry Vaughn
Time of Game: 1:49
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial