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MetroStars Seal Loss With Kiss

For the MetroStars, it was a kiss of death.

After playing D.C. United even for the first 34 minutes of last

night's MLS match at Giants Stadium, MetroStars defender Mike Petke was

ejected for drawing a second yellow card - one issued for kissing the

soccer ball before tossing it back to referee Michael Kennedy. The

man-down MetroStars, already numbed by the absence of seven injured

American players, then were toyed with by United. The 4-1 loss was the

MetroStars' sixth in a row.

"I got thrown off the kitchen table for not eating my peas once,"

said Petke, a Bohemia native. "That's the only thing I can think of

that's close to this."

The MetroStars (5-16) did manage to score their first goal in 375

minutes (more than six hours of play spanning more than four full games)

to actually take a 1-0 lead. But the sparse crowd (the team said 6,876

tickets were distributed, but fewer than 1,500 showed up for this

rescheduled game) was disappointed by the final minutes of the first

half, and by a second half dominated by United (15-7).

Serbian midfielder Sasa Curcic put home a penalty kick to give the

Metros the lead after captain Billy Walsh was taken down in the box in

the ninth minute. But in the 21st minute, Carey Talley headed home a

free kick from Marco Etcheverry to tie the score. Four minutes prior to

half, Etcheverry set up Jamie Moreno's backheel in the box for a 2-1

United lead.

United outshot the MetroStars 22-12. D.C. substitutes Ben Olsen

(71st-minute blast) and A.J. Wood (sliding, unmarked goal in the box in

the 75th minute) put the finishing touches on the Metros' night.

The MetroStars have lost 11 of 12, have only two wins in regulation

in their last 30 matches, and have been outscored 43-18. After the game,

coach Bora Milutinovic, who has 1 1/2 years left on a hefty contract,

said he won't resign. "To resign would be the easy thing to do," said

Milutinovic, who uncharacteristically agreed with a questioner who noted

many of his players had failed to work hard away from the ball.

Frustrated MetroStars keeper Mike Ammann, who has played well under

constant fire, found little humor in Petke's ejection. "We were

shorthanded already, so getting ejected was a mistake," Ammann said.

"Hopefully, he'll learn from that."

Doubleheader for Fernandes. Fernando Fernandes, a Portuguese

midfielder who played 65 minutes earlier in the day for the Rough

Riders, was called to the Metros and played the last five minutes.

Former MetroStar and current Rough Rider Rob Johnson played the second

half, registering one shot. Teammate John Wolyniec was called but did

not play . . . The Metros are first in the MLS with 337 shots, but last

with only 18 goals . . . New MLS commissioner Don Garber, a former NFL

executive, was in attendance . . . Last night's game was originally

scheduled for Oct. 6, but was moved ahead so it could be played on grass

. . . Team management is disappointed that the Jets have reversed plans

and will turn the field back to artificial turf for their final

preseason game. The Metros will play a Sept. 5 match with Chicago on the

surface.

Riders Win in Shootout. Darko Kolic scored his 13th goal of the

season and Gerry Lucey, Cordt Weinstein and Daniel Leon scored in the

shootout as the Rough Riders beat Boston at Mitchel Athletic Complex.

Kolic's goal in the 17th minute came off a cross from Leon, but Boston

tied the score at 1 late in the first half. The Riders won the shootout,

3-1, after a scoreless second half and overtime period. -Tom Rock

New York Sports