Forward Mike Magee will battle the Fire for the second time in as many weeks.
J.G. Hoop/MLS/

Metros open busy week vs. Battery

Up next, Charleston Battery, Chicago Fire
Tomorrow, the MetroStars are taking on the Charleston Battery at 7:30 in a fourth round 2004 U.S. Open Cup game at Blackbaud Stadium. The MetroStars hope that they could improve on the first and only historical meeting between the two teams in 2001, when the Battery beat the "Red and Black" 4-1 in Charlestown.

This weekend, the MetroStars will come back to Giants Stadium for their next game against Chris Armas and the Chicago Fire on July 24 (TV: FSNY, Spanish Radio: WADO 1280 AM) at 7:30 p.m. ET, trying to break their nine league game winless streak against their Eastern Conference rivals. In their previous match against the Fire last Saturday, an Amado Guevara penalty kick was enough to ensure a 1-1 draw.

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, 11:00 p.m. ET
Saturday: MetroStars vs. Chicago - FSNY, 7:30 p.m. ET

A win away for Bradley
With last Saturday's 1-1 draw at Chicago last Saturday, MetroStars head coach Bob Bradley is still one win away from reaching 100 career wins. Bradley's all-time league record of 99 career regular season victories is 20 more than the closest active coach, Sigi Schmid. Schmid needs four more to surpass Thomas Rongen (DC, NE, TB) for second place in career regular season victories.

If Bradley's 100th victory comes in his next league game against the Chicago Fire this Saturday, it will be ironic since 82 of his victories came at the helm of the Windy City team. Bradley has earned 17 wins with the MetroStars since being named Head Coach on October 22, 2002, but has failed to defeat the Fire in eight tries, including a 1-0 loss to his former team in the final of the 2003 MLS Open Cup on October 15, 2003.

Taking the top
Even with their 1-1 tie against the Chicago Fire last Saturday, the MetroStars have retained the top spot in the Eastern Conference with 23 points. They are two points ahead of D.C. United and three ahead of the Columbus Crew. This Saturday's opponent, the Chicago Fire, are further adrift with 19 points with no games in hand over the "Red and Black." The Crew has two games in hand over the MetroStars.

Top-form Guevara continues streak
MetroStars midfielder Amado Guevara has been on fire for the "Red and Black", slotting in his seventh goal of the season last Saturday. His strike from the penalty spot was also his fourth conversion of the year. Guevara, who also has seven assists this season, has earned at least a point in six consecutive league games, garnering four goals and five assists during that stretch (13 points), making it the longest streak of its kind this season. Guevara's 21 points puts him in sole position of second place on the MLS Budweiser Scoring list. He is one point behind L.A. Galaxy striker Carlos Ruiz. In addition, Guevara, who is also an MLS All-Star Starter, has already surpassed the 16 points he earned in the entirety of the 2003 season.

Strong home form
The MetroStars have a record of 4-2-2 in East Rutherford, N.J. They have won four 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), tied twice (April 25, 2004 1-1 vs. New England Revolution; May 15, 2004 1-1 vs. Chicago Fire) and lost twice (June 5, 2004 2-0 vs. Dallas Burn; June 30, 2004 3-2 vs. Colorado Rapids).

Using those guns
The MetroStars are not afraid of shooting the ball. The team leads the league for most shots overall with 273. Their nearest opponent is the Chicago Fire with 242. In addition, the MetroStars are leading the league in shots on goal with 114 strikes - three more than D.C. United.

Closing like Mariano
The "Red and Black" are generally very solid in closing out games. When the MetroStars are ahead after the 75th minute, they are 5-1-0.

Kicking it in the net
The high-powered MetroStars offense has been productive this year, scoring 29 goals - second most in the league behind the L.A. Galaxy's 33.

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 17 tallies in nine games. With an average of 1.89 goals per away game, the MetroStars are ahead of the L.A. Galaxy (1.56 average).

Suave in red and black
The MetroStars are 6-2-2 when wearing their red and black-striped jerseys, compared to 0-4-3 wearing their white kits. The team usually wears their all-white uniforms when traveling for away games.

Bermuda's a positive xxperience for U-19's
The MetroStars' Super Y-League U-19 team beat the U-19 Bermuda national team in two games over the past weekend. Last Saturday, two goals by midfielder Erhan Zekiroski, and another by forward Gabe Ferrari helped the "Red and Black" earn a 3-1 victory. The team then quickly followed up their success from the previous day with a 3-0 win over their Bermudan hosts with two goals by forward Ryan Cordiero and one by forward Carlos Salazar before electrical malfunctions stopped the game during the second half on Sunday. Goalkeepers Amir Haghshenas and Eric Geiger shared the shutout in yesterday's game.

The trip was part of a four-day visit to the island nation, with the team training on the first day. MetroStars' U-19 Coach Stan Lembryk was pleased with the trip and the squad's performance, saying it was good preparation and experience for both teams. In a similar type of trip by a foreign nation, the MetroStars hosted the Honduran U-17 national team from June 12-20 earlier this year.

"This is the start of a positive relationship," Lembryk said. "[The Bermudan team] are beginning their qualifications for the World Youth Cup and we were fortunate to get an invite to come and play ... It was a very good experience to travel abroad, travel to another country. I think the biggest thing is the ability to place players in an environment in another country."

Overcoming the Battery
With a 2-0 victory over the Wilmington Hammerheads in Charleston on June 30, the Charleston Battery earned the right to host the MetroStars in the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday. The "Red and Black" have faced the Battery in the past, losing to them 4-1 in the 2001 Open Cup tournament. If the Metros win, they will play the winner in the New England Revolution/Rochester Raging Rhinos game at a venue to be determined on August 4.

Bringing the Colombian heritage
The MetroStars will be hosting a Colombian Heritage Day this Saturday at Giants Stadium. The event will celebrate Colombian culture and include a series of activities throughout the day. Prior to the MetroStars game against the Chicago Fire at 7:30 p.m., a free Colombian festival will take place outside of Giants Stadium. The festival will include live Colombian entertainment from some of the area's top local talent, and authentic Colombian food, provided by some of the area's top Colombian restaurants. The festival will begin at 4 p.m. and end just before the MetroStars kickoff.

This is the first-ever Colombian Heritage Day with the MetroStars. The MetroStars began their heritage series last season. This is the fourth part of eight events this year - the MetroStars hosted a Greek Heritage Day last Saturday and have already held Mexican (May 15) and Portuguese days. They will host four other events, including Colombian (July 24), Caribbean/Guatemalan (August 8), Ecuadorian (August 15) and Hispanic (September 11) days.

Former American Idol to perform, sign autographs
Former second season American Idol Josh Gracin will perform the national anthem at this Saturday's game against the Chicago Fire. Gracin, who placed fourth in the second season, will sign autographs for an hour after the game in Giants Stadium at the Stadium Club. Known for his Top 10 song, "I Want to Live," Gracin's sold over 90,000 albums in the first three weeks after it was released. The 23-year-old is an active duty U.S. Marine and is married with a young daughter.

In addition, The Times Square Kidz (TS KIDZ) will be performing "God Bless America" at this weekend's game against the Fire. The TS KIDZ is a musical theater group comprised of children from ages 8 to 18 who are trained at the New Dance Group Arts Center in Times Square - a training ground for future professional ventures into acting.

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' Saturday game against Chicago will now be shown on FSNY rather than MSG and the August 29 game against the Columbus Crew will no longer be televised.

Metros to take part in balloon festival
The MetroStars will be on-hand from Friday to Sunday at the QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning taking place at Solberg Airport in Readington, N.J. The MetroStars will be part of the KeySpan Home Energy Services booth - one of the sponsors of this year's Balloon Festival. The MetroStars will have raffles and give-aways at the event and in addition to the 125-plus hot air balloons set to appear over the weekend, the Metro Mobile and the MetroStars' mascot, Metro, will be on hand throughout the festival. A MetroStars player will also be on hand on Sunday.

A member of the Standard & Poor's 500 Index, KeySpan is the largest distributor of natural gas in the Northeast with 2.5 million gas customers and more than 12,000 employees. KeySpan is also the largest investor-owned electric generator in New York State and operates Long Island Power Authority's electric system serving 1.1 million customers.

Corporations converge at Giants Stadium
The MetroStars are proud to host the first MetroStars Corporate Challenge Cup this Saturday. Ten teams from local corporations will be competing for local bragging rights in the first organized Corporate Cup of its kind held at Giants Stadium. The tournament takes place on Giants Stadium field from 4-6 p.m. prior to the MetroStars match against the Chicago Fire at 7:30 p.m. The following companies have placed teams in the Corporate Cup: Sealed Air Corporation, Price Waterhouse, Bank of Bermuda, New York Times, Anderson Kill & Olic, Bloomberg Financial (2 teams), Vidal Partnership, Joseph A., Dewey Ballantine and a MetroStars sponsorship team.

The Corporate soccer tournament is one of the many new programs introduced this season as part of the MetroStars Business Alliance. The MBA was launched in order to help companies entertain clients, reward employees and foster new business development using professional sports.

Metros to host Copa Budweiser
The MetroStars are hosing the Budweiser-sponsored 2004 Copa Budweiser Tournament, where sixteen of the best amateur teams from New York will be battling it out for $5,000 worth of prize money this August and September. The Copa Budweiser is an invitational 6 vs. 6 tournament consisting of a qualifying tournament taking place at the Metropolitan Oval in Maspeth, Queens on Saturday, August 7. The top four finalists from New York will advance to face the top four qualifying teams from New Jersey and compete for the Copa Budweiser Metro Championship at Giants Stadium on September 11 after the MetroStars' 6: p.m. game against the New England Revolution.

The Copa Budweiser event will also feature a Budweiser Shootout to find New York's most highly skilled players. Using the MLS Shootout format, Budweiser wants to identify New York's best striker and goalkeeper in a one-on-one individual challenge with $750 in prize money up for grabs. The New York Budweiser Shootout Champion will then advance to face the New Jersey Budweiser Shootout Champion at Giants Stadium during halftime of the MetroStars' match in September.

The event in Maspeth will feature appearances by the Metro Mobile and the Bud Light Hummer, complete with interactive games and give-a-ways. There will also be a soccer festival, complete with DJ's, food as well as live radio call-in's to Latino Mix and WADO 1280 and MetroStars player appearances. In addition, the final will take place on Hispanic Heritage Day - an event which will feature a pre-game concert and festival starting at 3 p.m.

Metros going Caribbean
The MetroStars are hosting the second annual Caribbean Heritage Day at Giants Stadium on Sunday, August 8. The event will celebrate Caribbean culture and include a series of activities throughout the day. It is being promoted in conjunction with CCB International.

The featured event is the MetroStars game versus the Los Angeles Galaxy with kickoff set for 6 p.m. Prior to the MetroStars game, a free Caribbean festival will take place outside of Giants Stadium. The festival will include live Caribbean entertainment from some of the area's top local talent, including Casym, Cloud IX and DJ "D-Life". The festival will also feature authentic Caribbean food provided by some of the area's top Caribbean restaurants. The festival will begin at 1 p.m. and end at 6 p.m., just before the MetroStars' game kicks off. The festival will also include a series of fun, interactive activities for the whole family.

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