BRADENTON, Fla. - The MetroStars and FC Dallas battled to a 1-1 tie this afternoon during the Metros' first friendly of the 2005 preseason.
FC Dallas struck first midway through the first half when captain Chris Gbandi found the back of the net after heading in a gorgeous corner kick from the foot of Arturo Alvarez. However, Metros forward Eamon Zayed tallied the equalizer in the second stanza, as he headed in a Joseph Rosen cross.
"I think we had a good start the first ten, fifteen minutes. I think the general consensus was that we were pretty sharp and put some passes together," said Metros starting goalkeeper Zach Wells, now in his second year in the "Red and Black". "We were alright for a while until I think fatigue set in at the end of the first half and they tried to stretch us a little bit. But for the most part, I think we were pretty tight in the back."
During the first half, FC Dallas put some heat on Wells, but the former UCLA Bruin was up to the challenge. Dallas forward Julian Nash had two scoring opportunities but was stoned both times after Wells made two brilliant saves. The first came when Nash got behind the Metros defenders and had a one-on-one from the left side of the box. However, Wells cut off Nash's angle and made the stop.
Nash had his second chance squelched when Wells made a diving stop on a header intended for the far post.
"I was comfortable in there today," said Wells. "It is just a matter of fine tuning a couple of things, like organizing corner kicks, making sure everyone is marked up with their man. The fine tuning just comes with experience."
The Metros' best scoring chance in the first half began on a midfielder Mark Lisi corner kick that Mike Magee fielded at the top of the box. Magee made a nice pass to a cutting John Robinson on the right side whose shot skidded just wide of the net.
In the second half, the Metros backline combination of Tim Regan, Diego Giaretta, Carlos Mendes and Ernest Essombe performed well and kept Dallas away from keeper Mike Ueltschey. FC Dallas did not muster a single shot on goal in the second.
The Metros will resume two-a-days Thursday and will have another preseason friendly against the Columbus Crew on Friday at 11:00 a.m. ET.
(Halves were 35 minutes apiece.)
MetroStars 1st Half Starters: Zach Wells, Tenywa Bonseu, Jeff Agoos (Capt.), Jeff Parke, Tim Ward, Eddie Gaven, Mark Lisi, Michael Bradley, John Robinson, Mike Magee, Vlade Glusevic.
MetroStars 2nd Half Starters: Mike Ueltschey, Tim Regan, Carlos Mendes, Ernest Essombe, Diego Giaretta, Eddie Gaven, Michael Bradley, Joseph Rosen, Sherif Toure, Sergio Galvan Rey, Eamon Zayed.
FC Dallas: Henry Ring, Drew Moore, Aaron Black, Alex Yee, Chris Gbandi (Capt.), Kevin Wilson, Arturo Alverez, Ramon Nunez, Ty Maurin, Abe Thompson, Julian Nash