Metros eye top prize for MLS

MLS Cup and the Open Cup," midfielder Mike Magee said. "That was a game we definitely wanted to win. But on the bright side, now we can just focus on (MLS Cup)."

That focus turns to the Chicago Fire who will be at Giants Stadium on Saturday night for the back end of a home-and-home series.

"We came into these games as if it was a series," Magee said. "We got the 1-1 tie in Chicago (last Saturday) so this is definitely an important game."

The match takes on more importance because the Fire are the defending Eastern Conference champion and have dominated the MetroStars over the years. It was the Fire who came to Giants Stadium and won the U.S. Open Cup Final last fall, and it was the Fire in 2000 who stalled the MetroStars at the brink of advancing to MLS Cup.

"They're a very complicated team," goalkeeper Jonny Walker, one of several MetroStars without a win over the Fire, said. "They give us trouble."

The MetroStars (6-6-5, 23 points) control the table in the East by two points from D.C. United. The Fire are four points adrift and clinging to fourth place and the final available playoff spot.

"We're four points ahead," Walker said. "If we can get these three and put them seven points down, that would be huge. We haven't been able to string together a lot of results. But we have had shades of brilliance."

Dan Lauletta is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.