MetroStars use second-half outburst to take series lead
Updated: Thursday September 27, 2001 10:54 AM
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- An inadvertent whistle at the start of the second half cost the New York-New Jersey MetroStars an apparent game-tying goal.
The one three minutes later gave them an extra man and the game.
Rookie Rodrigo Faria scored twice in a four-goal second-half outburst that gave the MetroStars a 4-1 playoff victory against the short-handed Los Angeles Galaxy on Wednesday night.
"Once they got the red card that seemed like an opportunity to go forward and we just happened to score four goals, and we could have had more," said Mark Chung, who along with Adolfo Valencia also scored in the 11-minute spree.
The victory gave the MetroStars a 4-1 lead in points in the best-of-three first-round series that will conclude Saturday in Los Angeles.
The MetroStars, seeded sixth among the eight playoff teams, can win the series with a tie in the third game.
The third-seeded Galaxy will have to win Saturday in the regular game to force a 20-minute sudden-death overtime.
If neither team scores in the mini-game, the series, which started with a 1-1 tie in Los Angeles on Sunday, would be decided by penalty kicks.
Faria has been the difference in this series so far with three goals.
"I feel pretty good," said Faria, who had eight goals in the regular season. "That was the right moment to step up and help my teammates. Without Clint [Mathis] and Tab [Ramos], this is the perfect moment to show my soccer and prove I belong in this league."
The Galaxy appeared in control of the game when Sasha Victorine hit a side volley into the corner of the net in the fourth minute.
Faria thought he tied the game in the opening seconds of the second half on a shot from midfield while the Galaxy were still huddling.
The MetroStars believed referee Noel Kenny blew his whistle to start the half.
Kenny said he blew his whistle to get the Galaxy out of the huddle, so he disallowed the goal.
"My mother told me if I didn't have anything good to say to keep my mouth shut, so I better stitch my mouth right now," MetroStars defender Mike Petke said of the ruling.
The game turned three minutes later when Kenny gave Galaxy defender Greg Vanney his second yellow card for a tackle on Faria. That forced Los Angeles to play a man short the rest of the way.
"The first yellow was harsh," Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid said. "I think the second yellow was justified. But the first yellow was harsh and it tipped the scale of the game."
The Galaxy can draw on recent history for hope. In last year's playoffs, all Los Angles had to do at Kansas City was get a tie in Game 3. The Wizards won the game and scored in the overtime en route to the MLS title.
After the red card, New York-New Jersey controlled the play. Faria finally broke through in the 72nd minute, heading in a crossing pass by Valencia.
"After they lost Vanney, we were talking, and we said once we score a goal, we'll take control," Faria said. "Thank God we got the first one."
Chung put New Jersey ahead in the 75th minute, barely flicking a 25-yard free kick by defender Daniel Hernandez past goalkeeper Kevin Hartman.
Faria got his second of the game running onto a crossing pass by Petter Villegas in the 80th minute.
Valencia closed out the scoring with a breakaway in the 83rd minute.
Los Angeles forward Luis Hernandez missed the game because of an injured hip.
LA --Victorine (Elliott) 4
LOS ANGELES GALAXY--Kevin Hartman, Craig Waibel, Greg Vanney, Danny Califf (Alexi Lalas 87), Peter Vagenas, Ezra Hendrickson, Simon Elliott, Mauricio Cienfuegos (Marvin Quijano 65), Cobi Jones (Brian Ching 88), Sasha Victorine, Adam Frye
METROSTARS--Tim Howard, Daniel Hernandez, Orlando Perez, Steve Jolley, Mike Petke, Petter Villegas, Richie Williams (Pedro Alvarez 87), Ross Paule, Mark Chung, Adolfo Valencia, Rodrigo Faria (Billy Walsh 82)
Referee: Noel Kenny; Assistant Referees: Greg Barkey, Thomas Supple