A Hollywood ending to the regular season
October 16, 2005

Chivas USA MetroStars

10.16.05 · League

All the world's a stage, and all the men merely players. And you could have not written a better script for this one, as the MetroStars, needing a win, qualified for the playoffs after a dramatic 2-0 victory over Chivas USA. They were led by Tony Meola and Michael Bradley. Meola played an amazing game in goal, turning away everything to preserve the shutout. What makes this result even more dramatic is that the team that so unceremoniously dumped him, Kansas City, was denied the playoffs. Bradley scored the game-winner, his first MLS goal, less than two weeks after his father was fired as Metro head coach.

After its success last week, Mo Johnston stuck with a 3-5-2; the lone difference was the insertion of Bradley for Mike Magee. But the new formation did not produce early on; the Metros were terrible in the first half, with only Meola's incredible backstopping keeping them even with the Goats. But it was Tony who made the first mistake of the match, throwing the ball off Francisco Palencia just five minutes in. Thankfully, he calmly grabbed the return. Seconds later, an errant back pass by Jason Hernandez left the Goats with a breakaway, with Carlos Mendes saving the ball off the line. And then it was numerous long balls on the left side, with Chivas attackers beating Jeff Agoos, only to be denied by Meola at the end.

The shifting of Tim Regan into the left back slot and moving Agoos into the middle of the defense helped. It looked like a new team came out for the second half. Just four minutes in, the Metros swung a corner kick from the right to the left, and Mark Lisi sent a perfect ball into the box onto the head of Bradley, who nipped it into the net for a surprising lead. Now the Metros had to hold in. And soon they had two great chances to extend the lead, both coming off terrific plays by Sergio Galvan Rey. The King of Goats sprung Amado Guevara -- the ball went off the post. Then, he had a clever back-heel in front of the Chivas keeper to a wide open Youri Djorkaeff -- the ball went off the post again.

And soon, it was the Metros' time to thank the woodwork as an Isaac Romo shot went off the crossbar. That was the only ball that Meola had no chance on; everything else he grabbed, knocked out, held on for dear life. The Goats had 17 -- count them, SEVENTEEN -- corner kicks, but none went through the Metro defense. Late in the game, Djorkaeff hid another post, this time on a long shot that looked destined to miss, and then Guevara chipped the goalie in injury time to seal the victory.

So now it's the playoffs, and the Revolution. Let's play.

Lineup: Meola, Agoos, Mendes, Hernandez, Regan, Bradley, Lisi, Guevara, Gaven, Djorkaeff, Galvan Rey. Subs: Razov, Stammler.

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