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Petke boots MetroStars out of basement 3-2 past D.C. United in overtime.

By Gary Davidson
SoccerTimes

MetroStars WASHINGTON, D.C. (Saturday, April 22, 2000) -- Thereís nothing like a good pair of shoes. Just ask MetroStars defender Mike Petke, who credited his new boots, even though it was his header in sudden death that provided a 3-2 decision over depleted D.C. United before 14,985 at RFK Stadium tonight.

"I was in the right place at the right time," said Petke of his third Major League Soccer goal. "I think it was my Kappa shoes. I have worn them twice this season and we won each time over D.C. United.

Those were also the MetroStarsí only two victories of the season and the New Jerseyans (2-4) climbed out of the Eastern Division basement past United (1-4). The Metros had not won at RFK since September 1997 and had dropped six straight to the Washingtonians entering this campaign.

"This was a very important game for us tonight which we needed to win," MetroStars coach Octavio Zambrano said. "The guys played with heart and desire. The effort was great and itís always nice to win on the road, especially against D.C. United.

It was the second straight setback for the defending MLS champion United in extra time.

"You think you have sunk as low as you can prior to this game. You think you canít go any deeper," United coach Thomas Rongen said. "But obviously, we have reached a very critical point right now for this club at this early juncture of the season to be at the position we are in, regardless mising players and not have our best players out there. This is unacceptable."

Petke was probably happy just to be playing tonight, following he turmoil and shakeup that followed the MetroStarsí 2-1 midweek loss to Kansas City, the teamís third straight defeat.

After acquiring defender Steve Jolley and midfielder Daniel Hernandez in trades, the MetroStars released the little-used reserve Nino Da Silva, but also left left defender Mohammad Khakpour and midfielder Miles Joseph home. Khakpour had started every game this season and Joseph had started the last two and was one of only two players on the roster since the inception of the franchise, but both appear finished with the franchise.

"I made sure after the last game; I told the guys clearly that was not good enough and that was the last time that team was going to be together," Zambrano said. "I said this to them prior to the game: 'Either prove me wrong or show me you belong on this team.' "

The Metrosí "golden goal" victory was even more improbable considering they were playing down one man after Adolfo Valencia received two quick yellow cards for a foul and his reaction, and was ejected in the 68th minute with the score tied 2-2.

In the fourth minute of two five-minute sudden-death periods, the MetroStars received a free kick at the wide of left perimeter of the D.C. penalty area after midfielder Geoff Aunger dragged down attacker Mark Chung. Midfielder Lothar Matthaeus curled a ball to the far post and Petke shook the mark of forward A.J. Wood, took the pass on one hop and headed inside the post past goalkeeper Tom Presthus.

"Next week I could be gone, who knows?" Petke commented. "Maybe this helped my cause."

The clubs exchanged own goals to tie the score at 1-1 after 22 minutes. D.C. defender put a cross into his own net in the eighth minute and Orlando Perez evened the count 14 minutes later trying to head away Marco Etcheverryís curling free kick to the near right post.

Etcheverry did get credit for a goal three minutes later, a penalty kick to make it 2-1 after Dahir Mohammed leg tackled Wood in the box.

In the 41st minute, forward Alex Comas sent a pass to Valencia who carried down the right side before finding midfielder Peter Villegas alone to the left-center of the 18 yard-line. Villegas beat Presthus with a 15-yard shot inside the right post.

D.C. was playing with a makeshift roster with leading scorer Jaime Moreno with the Bolivian national team in World Cup qualifying, midfielder Ben Olsen and forward Chris Albright with the U.S. under-23s in Olympic qualifying and central defender Eddie Pope out after arthroscopic knee surgery this week. Defenders Carey Talley and Carlos Llamosa were rushed into service despite not being fully recovered from injuries that have kept them on the bench in recent weeks.

Each team only managed three shots on goal in the match.

MetroStars 3, D.C. United 2

Lineups: D.C. United - Tom Presthus, Carey Talley (David Hayes 91), Carlos Llamosa, Jeff Agoos, John Maessner, Geoff Aunger, Richie Williams, Marco Etcheverry, Antonio Otero (Mike Slivinski 79), Mike Burke, A.J. Wood. MetroStars - Mike Ammann, Mike Petke, Dahir Mohammed, Orlando Perez, Steve Jolley, Mark Chung, Steve Shak, Petter Villegas, Lothar Matthaeus, Alex Comas (Brian Kelly 90), Adolfo Valencia.

Scoring:
MetroStars - own goal (Agoos) 9.
D.C. United - own goal (Perez) 22.
D.C. United - Etcheverry (penalty kick) 25.
MetroStars - Villegas (Valencia, Comas) 41.
MetroStars - Petke (Matthaeus) 94+.

Total shots: D.C. United 19 (four players with 3), MetroStars 9 (Villegas 3). Shots on goal: D.C. United 3 (Etcheverry 2), MetroStars (Villegas 1, Chung 1, Petke 1). Saves: D.C. United - Presthus 1; MetroStars - Ammann 2. Fouls: D.C. United 22 (Wood 6), MetroStars 20 (Villegas 4, Valencia 4, Shak 4). Offside: D.C. United 2, MetroStars 3. Corner kicks: D.C. United 9, MetroStars 2. Yellow card cautions: D.C. United - Wood 47+, Slivinski 83; MetroStars - Villegas 12, Shak 56, Valencia 68. Red card ejection: Valencia 68. Possession percentage: D.C. United 65, MetroStars 35.

Referee: Noel Kenny. Referee's assistants: Kermit Quisenberry, Bill Dittmar. Attendance: 14,985 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. Weather: Cloudy, chilly, 58 degrees.

Gary Davidson is managing editor of SoccerTimes and can be e-mailed at editor@soccertimes.com.

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