Metro tops uninspired Guadalajara, 1:0
June 26, 2008
Earlier this month, when this match was announced, Sporting Director Jeff Agoos was quoted as saying, "As a club constantly striving to test ourselves against the world's best competition, we are excited to face Chivas de Guadalajara as part of their preseason." What wasn't pointed out at the time was that the meaningless game would be scheduled in the middle of a stretch where the club would play seven matches in only twenty days. Nevertheless, kept out of the SuperLiga due to their 2007 record, and no doubt eager to get their hands on some of the money that comes with playing a friendly against one of the top Mexican clubs, Metro gladly made a stop in Phoenix on Wednesday night on their way to Los Angeles for Saturday night's clash with Chivas USA.
Juan Carlos Osorio, apparently intent on putting on a good show, kept the majority of his lineup from the previous league match against Dallas intact. Zach Thornton started in net for Jon Conway, and Dave Van den Bergh returned to the midfield while rookie John Gilkerson took his place at left back. As a result, Mike Magee sat in favor of Sinisa Ubiparipovic in midfield. Finally, Jeff Parke was inserted in place of the injured Kevin Goldthwaite.
From the start, Metro showed more interest in the game than their Mexican counterparts. A number of attacks fell just shy in front of the Chivas goal; the first coming from the much-maligned Oscar Echeverry, who started at forward once again. In just the 5th minute, Echeverry had goalkeeper Luis Michel beat, but his soft shot lacked the pace to find the net, and was cleared by a Chivas defender. In the 22nd minute, captain Seth Stammler missed wide left after a clever feed from Hunter Freeman.
The team was eventually rewarded for its attacking efforts; later in the 22nd minute, Ubiparipovic took the ball up the endline toward goal, juking a Chivas defender to the turf. He found a wide-open Echeverry with his centering pass, who slammed the ball past Michel for the goal. Danleigh Borman would spell the tiring Dane Richards in the 35th minute, and just before halftime, Stammler would be sent off along with Chivas' Edgar Solis as the instigators of a brief and relatively benign shoving match.
A slew of changes were made at halftime; Magee, John Wolyniec, Luke Sassano, Chris Leitch, and the newly-signed Gordon Kljestan came on, while Ubiparipovic, Freeman, Carlos Mendes, van den Bergh, and Echeverry sat. A boring second half would follow, despite the energy Metro once again brought to the table; when Chivas finally did break in on Thornton's goal, it was Parke to the rescue, making a pefect sliding tackle to take control and end the play. More substitutions would come: Borman would be spelled by rookie David Roth in the 66th; Chris Megaloudis would come on for Wolyniec in the 82nd, and finally Ricky Schramm saw the field for the battered Gilkerson in the 88th. Chivas' best chance on goal in the second half, a long distance attempt in the 86th, was parried by Thornton.
In the end, no one was injured, and the team showed some spirit in a game that meant nothing... but with all the injuries the club already has, why even schedule the match at this point in the season in the first place? We're just glad the thinly-veiled cash-grab did not apparently affect the team in any significant way, but we'll have to wait and see Saturday night as to whether or not the additional fatigue takes its toll. If it does, further criticism will no doubt be levied against a front office that has been under fire for seemingly the entire season to date.