RIDGELAND, Miss. - The MetroStars were defeated by the Chicago Fire, 2-0, in a MLS preseason friendly played before a crowd of nearly 6,000 in Ridgeland, Mississippi's Freedom Ridge Park. Chris Rolfe and Jesse Marsch accounted for the Fire's goals and goalkeeper Zach Thornton earned the clean sheet.
Rolfe scored in the 15' minute after Mario Ivan Guerrero made a nice run down the left sideline and crossed it into the box. Rolfe headed the cross into the ground and it bounced past Metros goalkeeper Zach Wells to make it 1-0 in favor of the Fire.
The MetroStars mustered only two scoring opportunities in the first half- on shots by Amado Guevara and Ramon Bailey- and had difficulty penetrating Chicago's formidable back four of Leonard Griffin, Jim Curtin, C.J. Brown and Kelly Gray.
The Fire netted the clincher in the 55' when Chris Armas' corner found its way into the box and was put on net. Wells made the initial save but Jesse Marsch put home the rebound for Chicago's second goal of the match.
Metros defender Jeff Agoos set up his club's best scoring chance in the 55' on a corner kick, but Gilberto's redirection off his right foot was flicked just wide of the net and the MetroStars came away empty.
Midfielder Michael Bradley had a nice run late in the game in the 86' after chasing down a solid pass by John Wolyniec. However, the ball was cleared out of danger before Bradley could unload a shot on net.
Despite giving up the two goals, Wells performed well in net and was credited with six saves. In the 23', he made a brilliant diving stop on Brandon, Mississippi native Justin Mapp, much to the displeasure of the Ridgeland crowd, who enthusiastically pulled for their local hero the entire match.
This game was the last of the preseason for the MetroStars. They will begin regular season play on Saturday, April 2 at 7:00 p.m. in Giants Stadium versus Real Salt Lake.
Box Score: MetroStars vs. Chicago Fire (March 25, 2005)
Team 1st 2nd Total MetroStars 0 0 0 Chicago Fire 1 1 2Scoring Summary:
CHI- Rolfe (Ivan Guerrero) 15'
CHI- Marsch 55'
CHI- Gray (Caution, Professional Foul) 6'
CHI- Segares (Caution, Professional Foul) 78'
Weather: 65 degrees and calm
Officials: Eric Simmons, Doug Damico, Jose Sanchez, Kevin Interini
MetroStars: Zach Wells, Jeff Agoos, Carlos Mendes (Seth Stammler 80'), Jeff Parke (Jason Hernandez 80'), Chris Leitch, Amado Guevara (Mark Lisi 45'), Michael Bradley, Gilberto (Tim Regan 66'), Ramon Bailey (Robins Jerome 80'), Sergio Galvan Rey, John Wolyniec
Substitutes Not Used: Chris Corcoran, Mike Magee, Dan Kennedy
Chicago Fire: Zach Thornton, Leonard Griffin, Jim Curtin, C.J. Brown (Jack Stewart 86'), Kelly Gray, Mario Ivan Guerrero (Gonzalo Segares 23'), Chris Armas (Logan Pause 72'), Jesse Marsch (Scott Buete 86'), Justin Mapp (Hollis Donaldson 86') Chris Rolfe (Thiago 76'), Nate Jacqua (Will Johnson 86')
Substitutes Not Used: Matt Pickens, Boyzzz Khumalo, Chris Karcz, Justin Cook