The way things have been going for the New York/New Jersey MetroStars this season, even a shootout is a good win.
Which is exactly how the MetroStars ended a club record six-game losing streak last night with a 2-1 Major League Soccer shootout victory over the Tampa Bay Mutiny in East Rutherford, N.J.
"We really wanted to get three points out of this match," said Petter Villegas, who tallied the tying goal in regulation and added a key shootout goal for the MetroStars. "But a win, even a shootout win, is a lot better than another loss."
A regulation win would have given the MetroStars three points; a shootout win gives them just one.
While Villegas provided much of the MetroStars' offense, goalkeeper Tim Howard came up big, especially in the tiebreaker.
"We really needed to end the losing streak anyway we could -- either in regulation or a shootout," said Howard, who in his second straight start made three saves in regulation and three stops in the shootout. "It feels good to get a win under our belts. Now maybe we can start to put something together."
The victory boosted the MetroStars to 5-10 with nine points. Tampa Bay lost its fourth straight and slipped to 6-9 with 12 points.
Tampa Bay drew first blood two minutes into the second half when Mutiny playmaker Carlos Valderrama sent a perfect through ball to Alejandro Sequiera just outside the box.
Sequiera ran onto the ball and chipped his shot over Howard, who had come off his line.
New York/New Jersey knotted the game in the 73rd minute on Villegas's first MLS goal. Villegas carried the ball from right to left along the top of the box before cranking a shot from the top of the arc that sailed past Mutiny keeper Andy Kirk and into the upper right corner.
New York/New Jersey won the shootout as Tab Ramos, Villegas and Billy Walsh all scored against Kirk. Pete Marino and Steve Ralston tallied shootout goals for the Mutiny, but Howard saved shots by R.T. Moore, Paul Dougherty and Valderrama to preserve the victory.
The MetroStars missed an opportunity to win in regulation when Nansha Kalonji's header bounced over the bar in the 82nd minute.
CREW 4, CLASH 3: Stern John scored the tying goal with three seconds left, his second of the game, and scored again in the shootout to lead Columbus past visiting San Jose.
John controlled a kick from Crew goalkeeper Mark Doughtery, dribbled past one defender and fired a left-footed shot past Clash goalkeeper Joe Cannon from about 20 yards.
John and Robert Warzycha, credited with an assist on John's first goal, scored in the shootout that the Crew won 2-1.
Ronald Cerritos, who scored twice for his team's first multigoal game this season, scored the only Clash goal in the shootout. Cerritos scored in the 25th minute and again in the 69th minute to give the Clash a 2-1 lead. Raul Diaz Arce scored in the 83rd minute to give the Clash a 3-2 lead.
COPA AMERICA: Brazil's Ronaldo and Amoroso scored two goals each as Brazil routed Venezuela, 7-0, in its first Copa America match in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay. In a Group B match, Luis Hernandez, the top scorer at the last Copa America two years ago, scored the lone goal in Mexico's 1-0 win over Chile.
Brazil notched five goals in the second half with a rejuvenated Ronaldo leading the way. Ronaldo scored his first goal in the 26th minute as the two-time FIFA player of the year showed he may have fully recovered from a knee injury last year.
The best goal of the night went to Ronaldhino, the Brazilian youngster being billed as "Ronaldo II." Lifting the ball over the head of a Venezuelan defender, Ronaldhino sprinted around him to drill the team's fifth goal.
Mexico's Cuauhtemoc Blanco set up the winning goal, slipping a pass through Chilean defenders and leaving Hernandez with a straight shot that he fired past goalkeeper Marcelo Ramirez at the 60th minute.
Hernandez had six goals in the Copa America two years ago in Bolivia and five goals during last year's World Cup.