After 90 minutes of sometimes furious but ultimately fruitless offense, it took the goalkeepers to settle Major League Soccer's season opener Saturday.
Not with great saves, though.
Clash coach Laurie Calloway tried to prevent his goalkeeper, Dave Salzwedel, from lining up against New York/New Jersey MetroStars goalie Tony Meola in the shootout forced by the teams' 0-0 tie in regulation. Calloway argued to no avail with referee Esse Baharmast. "I'm glad I lost," Calloway said moments later.
Salzwedel touched the ball twice and then sent a slow roller that glanced off Meola's left foot and into the goal to win the shootout 4-3 in the 11th round of kicks.
"I've never seen a goalie kick one in," Clash midfielder Dominic Kinnear said.
Neither had MetroStars coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, beginning his first season in the MLS, which has a unique tie-breaking procedure.
"A shootout, which I had never seen in my life," he said. "Yes! I have to confess I like it. It creates a lot of excitement."
Meola's attempt came in the sixth round, after the scheduled five ended 2-2, and put the Clash in jeopardy. His kick into the left corner completely fooled Salzwedel,who had saved three to that point.
Needing to score to avoid a loss, Kinnear successfully drilled one into the left side.
Both teams then went cold for the next four rounds and Calloway, who had kept Salzwedel out of the rotation as long as the rules permitted, was forced to yield.