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 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
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
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