This weekend the MetroStars embark on their first road trip of the 2005 season when they head to Denver, Colorado to take on the Rapids. After going winless in their first three games, the Rapids pulled out of their season opening slump and came away with a 2-0 win against the Columbus Crew last Saturday. The win extended their home-undefeated streak to 12 regular season games.
Colorado's first goal came early in the night when Rapids' Captain Pablo Mastroeni scored in just the second minute of play. Chris Henderson set Mastroeni up with a ball in the box that he was able to rocket past Jon Busch into the lower left corner. This was Mastroeni's first goal since joining the Rapids before the 2002 season.
The Rapids put the game out of reach in the 58th minute when Luchi Gonzalez also tallied his first goal for the Rapids. Henderson again was credited with the assist when his cross found Gonzalez in the heart of the Crew's penalty area. The former Sporting Cristal striker headed the ball past Bush beating him to his right side.
On the other side of the country, the MetroStars ended their three game home-stand last Friday with a tough loss to the Chicago Fire. The MetroStars had a few scoring opportunities in the second half- including a penalty kick- but couldn't find the back of the net.
The Fire capitalized on a Metros turnover in the 29th minute when Nate Jaqua scored the only goal of the night. Despite losing two of their starters, Jeff Agoos and Jeff Parke, due to injury at the end of the first half, the "Red and Black" battled in the second half, but were unable to net the equalizer.
Both Tim Ward and Tim Regan made their first appearance of the 2005 season for the Metros when they came on as subs and kept the Fire attack in check for the rest of the game.
For Ward, not only was this his first appearance of 2005, but this was his first professional career game played. Ward was chosen as the MetroStars first round draft pick (12th overall) in the 2005 SuperDraft. The 18-year old has spent must of the preseason traveling with the U.S. U-20 team, competing in tournaments in South Korea and most recently Holland.
One of the early season highlights for the "Red and Black" has been the electrifying play of French World Cup Champion Youri Djorkaeff. Djorkaeff made his first appearance on April 16 against Kansas City. In that win, he had tallied his first MLS assist when he played a long ball which triggered the sequence that ended with Sergio Galvan Rey's game-tying goal. In his second contest of the season on April 22, he led the team in shots on goal with three. Djorkaeff has made the impression that he will be a prominent and dangerous force in the MetroStars midfield.
The MetroStars have an even all-time record against the Colorado Rapids, which stands at 10-10-1. However in their last three meetings the Metros haven't been able to come away with a win. The "Red and Black's" last win came on May 17, 2003 when they shutout the Rapids 2-0 at INVESCO Field at Mile High Stadium.
Chris Leitch and the rest of the MetroStars defense will need to lockdown Rapids forward Jeff Cunningham who has been successful against the Metros in his past. Throughout his career, Cunningham has notched 7 goals in 22 games against the MetroStars.
"Red and Black" fans will also continue to see more playing time from Eddie Gaven as he progressively comes back from a left ring finger injury. Gaven has been sidelined intermittently since the end of March when he fractured his left ring finger playing with the U-20 team. He came on as a substitute last weekend, and should be ready to give Metros' Coach Bob Bradley more minutes this weekend.
MetroStars vs. Colorado Rapids
Time: 9:00 p.m. ET
Location: INVESCO Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado
Local TV: MSG
Local Spanish Radio: WADO 1280 AM
MetroStars: 0-1-2, 2 pts
Colorado Rapids: 1-2-1, 4 pts