MetroStars v. Fire pregame report

Date: Saturday, July 24, 2004
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ

Local TV: FSNY
Play-by-play: JP Dellacamera
Analyst: Shep Messing
Sideline: Steve Cangialosi
Producer: Eddie Caggianelli

Local Spanish Radio: WADO 1280 AM
Play-by-play: Ernesto Motta
Analyst: Robert Sierra

Referee: Jair Marrufo
Referee's Asst: Nate Clement (SAR), Chip Reed (JAR)
Fourth Official: Ken Heller

Injury Report:
Michael Bradley - OUT - Stress Fracture of Right Talarnavicular
Ricardo Clark - DOUBTFUL - Left Quadriceps Contusion
Gilberto - OUT - Ruptured Torn Posterior Tibial Tendon in Left Ankle
Amado Guevara - PROBABLE - Sprained Left Ankle
Mark Lisi - OUT - Right Ankle Sprain
Tim Regan - QUESTIONABLE - Left MCL Sprain
Fabian Taylor - QUESTIONABLE - Right Ankle Sprain
Craig Zaidie - OUT - Sprained Left LCL

Probable Starters
GK #1 Jonny Walker
D #3 Chris Leitch
D #12 Jeff Parke
D #23 Eddie Pope
D #6 Seth Stammler
M/D #14 Kenny Arena
M #24 Eddie Gaven
M #10 Joselito Vaca
M #20 Amado Guevara
F #15 John Wolyniec
F #7 Mike Magee

Up Next, Chicago Fire: This weekend, the MetroStars will come back home to Giants Stadium for their game against Chris Armas and the Chicago Fire on Saturday (TV: FSN-NY, Spanish Radio: WADO 1280 AM) at 7:30 p.m. ET. "The Red and Black" will be trying to break their ten game (nine MLS, one Open Cup Final) 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.

The MetroStars will then play their last match before the MLS All-Star Game on Wednesday, July 28, against the Kansas City Wizards at Arrowhead Stadium at 8:30 p.m (TV: FSNY, Spanish Radio: WADO 1280 AM). In their last encounter, a John Wolyniec goal in the 73rd minute ensured a 1-0 win for the "Red and Black" on May 30.

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).

A Win Away for Bradley: With last Saturday's 1-1 draw at Chicago, 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.

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.

Strong Home Form: The MetroStars have a record of 4-2-2 in East Rutherford. 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).

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

Metros Fall to Battery: The MetroStars fell to the Charleston Battery on Tuesday night 1-0 in the fourth round of the 2004 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The Battery received the only goal of the game from Steve Klein just minutes into the second half. The MetroStars were able to create chances, but hit the woodwork three times, including on a 73rd minute penalty kick by Mike Magee. The Metros are now 0-2-0 against the Battery.

Extinguishing the Fire: The MetroStars are going into Saturday's game against the Chicago Fire with a nine game winless streak against their Eastern Conference rivals, but are hoping to earn the full three points against a team which has been unable to win in their last seven league games. One player however, who is on form for the Fire is forward Damani Ralph. Ralph scored Chicago's lone goal in last Saturday's 1-1 draw against the Metros and scored a double in last Tuesday's U.S. Open Cup win over the Columbus Crew. The striker has eight league goals this season to go along with two assists.

However, the Fire will have to be on the look-out for Metros midfielder Amado Guevara, who scored from the penalty spot in last Saturday's game. If Guevara is able to recover from his left ankle sprain, he will be a threat to Chicago as he has earned six points in six games against the Windy City team. In addition, if forward Fabian Taylor can rebound from his ankle injury, he could add to the goal he scored against the Fire in a 1-1 draw at Giants Stadium on May 15. This year, Taylor has five goals in 12 games played.

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 4:00 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 at Giants Stadium inside Gate D instead of the Stadium Club as mentioned in previous releases. Known for his Top 10 song, "I Want to Live," Gracin has sold over 90,000 albums in the first three weeks after it was released. The 23-year-old is an active duty US 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 in the entertainment business.

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, NJ. 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. MetroStar Seth Stammler will also be at the event 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 4:00- 6:00 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.

After the Show, It's the After Party: After the MetroStars game tomorrow, the MetroStars are hosting a post game party at Classics Sports Pub in the Sheraton Meadowlands Hotel located at 2 Meadowlands Plaza right across the street from Giants Stadium. Fans are all invited to hang out with the players and coaches.