Metro squeak out a tie against the Crew
Bob Ferguson; October 9, 2004
The Columbus Crew extended their unbeaten streak to a record 17 matches as they hammered out a 1-1 draw against the MetroStars before 15,000 fans at The Swamp, leaving Metro needing a draw or better against DC United next week at RFK to claim second place in the Eastern Conference and home field advantage for the first-round of playoffs against their arch-rivals from the Capitol.
In a first half that was all Columbus, Metro struggled to keep up with the safety-yellow Crew, eventually giving up a 26th minute goal to Jeff Cunningham. The play started as Jeff Cunningham slid a pass to Danny Szetela, making his first start in what he'd hoped would be his home stadium when he joined MLS. As Cunningham raced toward the goal, Szetela, owner of the worst hairstyle in MLS since Tony Meola's early days, took a shot that was deflected into the penalty area, where Cunningham was able to beat a stumbling Kenny Arena to toe-poke the ball over Jonny Walker and into the net. The MetroStars spent the rest of the first half trying to get past the Crew defense, but created few chances for themselves.
The second half was played more energetically, and even handedly, with Metro coming up with a couple close calls for Crew goalie Matt Jordan off of shots by John Wolyniec and Sergio Galvan Rey. Metro tied the match in the 71st minute when Eddie Gaven was tripped up by Duncan Oughton (who had entered the game a mere minute earlier) on a run into the box, and Galvan Rey stepped up to take the PK in the place of Amado Guevara, who was out of town in international duty with the Honduras National Team. Galvan Rey tallied his second of the year as he popped the pelota into the upper right corner of the goal.
The rest of the match was spent with both teams trying to hustle up a game-winner, but to no avail. Bob Bradley made a couple of interesting second-half substitutions, sending in Fabian Taylor for Tim Regan and Joselito Vaca for Gilberto Flores. As boring as the first half was for Metro fans, the final fifteen minutes were exactly opposite, with both sides pressing hard, but coming up short.
Against the Crew lately, a draw is as good as it gets. Hopefully the momentum of getting that point will carry Metro into the final regular-season match against DC with enough confidence to come home with second place in hand.
Lineup: Walker, Leitch, Arena, Parke, Regan, Flores, Clark, Brenes, Gaven, Galvan Rey, Wolyniec. Subs: Vaca, Taylor.