Fire continues mastery over Metros, 2:1
August 24, 2003 (Official Game Summary)

MetroStars Chicago
Wolyniec Ralph
08.24.03 · League

An 86th minute strike by Ante Razov gave the visiting Chicago Fire a come-from-behind 2-1 win over the MetroStars on Sunday afternoon at Giants Stadium and allowed them to extend their lead in the Eastern Conference to eight points over the second-place MetroStars. Entering this weekend the MetroStars had lost just once in their previous eight regular season games.

Razov started the play which led to his late game-winning strike as he dribbled the ball through four MetroStars defenders in the penalty area. The ball would deflect to forward teammate Damani Ralph, whose shot also rebounded off a defender and forward to Razov, who had slipped his markers. The Fire's all-time leading scorer was free to slot the ball home unopposed from eight yards out for his 12th goal of the campaign, catapulting him into a tie for fourth place in the Budweiser scoring chart.

The MetroStars struck early as forward John Wolyniec netted his fourth goal of the year in the 28th minute. From inside his own half MetroStars defender Craig Ziadie sent a long ball into the Fire penalty area where Chicago defender C.J. Brown seemingly had a beat on it. But Wolyniec pressured Brown and got a foot on the ball just outside the six-yard box, lofting the ball over charging goalkeeper Zach Thornton. It was the MetroStars' first lead in eight games.

The MetroStars nearly doubled their advantage on two occasions through forward Clint Mathis, who saw a low shot saved by Thornton in the 31st minute and his free kick from outside the box strike the top right corner of the goal in the 36th minute.

The home team's defense was playing equally well in the first half, efficiently containing the explosive Fire attack until moments before the break. A spectacular solo effort by Ralph led to the 1-1 equalizer as the University of Connecticut product added to his MLS single-season rookie goal-scoring record which now stands at 10. Ralph collected the ball on the left attacking flank and made a 25-yard run toward the center of the field, outrunning fellow Jamaica native Ziadie. With no defenders collapsing on him, Ralph concluded his run by rifling a right-footed blast from just outside the MetroStars box into the top left corner of the goal.

The Fire were boosted by Ralph's goal and would maintain the majority of the possession to start the second half. However the best scoring chances fell on the feet of the MetroStars' Mathis. However, the U.S. National Team striker saw his 52nd minute and 71st minute shots toward goal were off target. The second half would not present many more scoring opportunities until Razov's 86th minute goal as the game turned physical and tense with the passing of the minutes.

Lineup: Walker, DiGiamarino, Pope, Jolley, Ziadie, Clark, Williams, Lisi, Guevara, Wolyniec, Mathis. Subs: Magee.

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