Metro nips LA 5:4 in a match for the ages
August 18, 2007

New York Los Angeles
Angel 2
Altidore 2
Pavon 2
08.18.07 · League

Oh, what a match! Early blown lead, Clint Mathis' record-breaker, Jozy Altidore's brace, late blown lead, and then a moment of magic from Mathis and Juan Pablo Angel, all in front of a record crowd that saw Metro beat LA 5:4 in an exciting thriller for the ages. What? You thought we were gonna lead in with David Beckham?

Mathis, who finished the game for Claudio Reyna last week, started from the get-go. Ronald Waterreus returned to the nets, Jon Conway's shutout be damned.

The craziness started four minutes in, when the Galaxy's Ty Harden somehow escaped a red card after bringing down Altidore right outside the box. The rulebook says that if the last defender takes down the attacker, that's an automatic ejection... but never mind the rulebook on this night. Nevertheless, Angel stepped up to take the free kick, kicked it under LA's wall, as it went off Joe Cannon's fingertips and into the net, sending those non-Beckham lovers in the crowd into a frenzy.

But that frenzy did not last, as Beckham's two assists to Carlos Pavon, the first off a corner kick in the 6th, and then off a free kick two minutes after, completely turned the game on its head. On both plays, it looked like Waterreus had a chance for a save, but did not make one.

The frantic pace continued throughout the half. Waterreus did make a fantastic kick save and then came out on a Landon Donovan breakaway to cut the angle just enough to force an extra dribble and the shot wide. On the other end, Angel's volley was parried by Cannon, Altidore was brought down in the box with no call, and then had his point-blank header off a point-perfect Dave van den Bergh pass saved by the Galaxy keeper.

Clint's record-breaker (45th Metro goal in all competitions, one more than Giovanni Savarese) came in first half injury time, as Dane Richards' hard work on the left side resulted in a deflection off Beckham's face, Richards regaining the ball, and another deflection that Mathis one-timed into the upper left corner.

Four minutes into the second half, Mathis sprung Altidore, who easily beat Cannon for the lead. And then, in the 70th minute, a van den Bergh pass led to Altidore waltzing through the Galaxy defense for his fourth goal in the last two matches.

But the two-goal lead did not last, as LA went right down the field, with Landon Donovan shrinking the margin (again, Waterreus could have done better). Then, in the 82nd minute, Metro reject Edson Buddle tied the game off a corner kick after the initial shot hit the woodwork.

But at 4:4, we were not done. Two minutes from time, Mathis, who had a terrific match all around, sent a long low shot into the bottom right corner of the net, which Cannon parried. Angel kept running, got the ball on the right side at what seemed like an impossible angle, and hit it off the Galaxy keeper and into the net for the spectacular victory.

As for Beckham, the only thing he can do in the second half on those free kicks was hit the Metro wall. You don't need to pay 250 million for someone to do that.

Lineup: Waterreus, Leitch, Parke, Stammler, Freeman, Vide, Mathis, van den Bergh, Richards, Altidore, Angel. Subs: Wolyniec, Mendes, Magee.

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