This was the year that the MetroStars had a great start to the 2003 season with new head coach Bob Bradley. He was able to assemble a fantastic squad and of course made a couple of big moves to bring over Eddie Pope to be the leader of the back line from DC United and of course bringing over a playmaker in Honduran International Amado Guevara.
So far Guevara had a solid start to the season coming over to Major League Soccer and dominated the midfield by either scoring the goals himself or setting up several players including Clint Mathis.
His first taste of US Open Cup action was a road game against the Mid Michigan Bucks where he scored the match winner early, was apart of the crazy fourth round road match at the Columbus Crew, but this time the home games would finally come as they would host the New England Revolution in a crazy Quarterfinal match up that saw one of the biggest wins of that season.
When NFL Stadiums were still considered home venues for most MLS clubs, the Metros never used Giants Stadium and tried to use smaller venues to host there US Open Cup games. Yurcak Field at Rutgers University as well as Mitchell Athletic Complex on Long Island were frequent users for the Metro back in the day.
After going 1-1 thru the first forty-five minutes as both Clint Mathis and Jay Heaps traded goals, nothing happened in the second forty-five minute session both sides weren’t able to take advantage of one another. So it was time for Golden Goal extra time as the winning goal would end it all.
So many times the Metro would attack the Revolution net and when you thought they finally got any form of an advantage, the offside flag would go up by the assistant. This happened several more times within the first half of extra time as well as the second half of extra time.
Amado Guevara would be the one the assistants would raise the flag on every time he got the ball and there was that one time I saw him a foot offside where I did agree it was an offside play.
Then something happened that forced the referee to intervene, both Clint Mathis and Joey Franchino entangled themselves into a bit of a shoving match that nearly broke out into a fight. After the scrum ended referee Roni Canales went to his back pocket and showed the red card to both men and both sides went down to ten.
But then the magic moment happened, that moment when after a grueling ninety minutes of regulation and nearly going another thirty that daylight finally came to the home side and once again it would be that man from Honduras that made the magic happen.
In the 116th minute Guevara got a brilliant ball towards the net and when he received the ball, he took his time and converted his chance for the match winner. While everyone around me celebrated the goal, I looked right at the far side assistant and waited to see if he was going to raise his flag for offside again.
All I saw was that on field official keep his flag down and ran from the end line all the way to the center of field and that’s when I knew, finally when I knew that this was a good goal, the pass and Guevara was onside when he received the ball and scored it into the back of the net.
Clint Mathis who was sent off actually remained on the field by the entrance to Yurcak Field was waiting for the rushing Guevara and hugged him in celebration as the MetroStars defeated the New England Revolution in Sudden Death Golden Goal extra time.
It was a fantastic night to see the home side doing so well and getting this far again as they were going to host the Semi-Finals and face DC United who defeated the Wilmington Hammerheads in their Quarterfinal match up.
Once again another great memory in the history of this tournament as the Red Bulls will be getting a second chance to try and win their first US Open Cup championship on Wednesday, September 20th at Sporting Kansas City.