Metro drowns in wild Rapids, 5:4
September 27, 2008

New York Colorado
Casey 3
09.27.08 · League

From early on, it looked like one of those games. 1:0 after three minutes, 1:1 after five, 2:1 after 11. And it kept on coming and coming, until the last minute of regulation, when Colorado scored the 11th and final goal of the match. In a game Metro fought so hard to draw even, it was not to be, as they dropped a home game for just the second time this year, losing to the Rapids 5:4.

Metro switched to a 3-5-2 with Diego Jimenez replacing the suspended Kevin Goldthwaite. Andrew Boyens sat, and Carlos Mendes started in defensive midfield as Seth Stammler was given a more attacking role.

The Metro defense looked horrid from the beginning. Just three minutes in, Gabriel Cichero was caught upfield, Jon Conway came out of the net, collided with a Rapid player, and Omar Cummings easily made it 1:0. But just two minutes later, New York tied the match. An errand backpass by Colorado's Cory Gibbs was garbled by Mike Magee, who slotted home the equalizer... An equalizer that stood for six minutes, as Metro was down again, as another mistake by Cichero was punished by Conor Casey.

They tied it again in the 34th, as Juan Pablo Angel put a penalty kick under Preston Burpo after a hand ball in the box. And six minutes later, a perfect cross from Jorge Rojas was run onto by Dane Richards, and Metro had their first lead of the game at 3:2.

So a lead with five minutes to go in the half. Great. Let's settle the game, take it into the break... If only. In the 43rd, Cichero couldn't clear a corner kick, and old cohort Mike Petke undressed Jimenez and roofed one in. Then, two minutes later, Pietravallo took down a Colorado player in the box, and Casey gave the Rapids the lead from the spot.

Cichero, so putrid tonight after such a solid opening to his Metro career, was benched at the half for Andrew Boyens. And a huge save by Conway on a close-range midway through the period kept Metro in the match. And Metro had their chances, most of them gained by running on balls sent over the Rapids defense. On one of those situations, Burpo took out Richards -- out of the play and out of the game, as the Jamaican couldn't continue.

So on came Mac Kandji for his New York debut, becoming the 200th player to suit for Metro in league play (and 204th in all competitions, for those counting). Soon after, it was time for Matthew Mbuta to make his first league appearance. And the newly-signed duo almost became tonight's heroes, as in the 74th, a good run by Kandji and a goalmouth cross was met by an onrushing Mbuta, who slammed it home. The Cameroonian became the 14th player in team history (in all competitions) to score on his debut.

Sadly, his almost-hero status did not come with a point. For in the 90th minute, Casey got his hat-trick, knocking home a cross past a stupefied Conway. A disgusting end to an exciting match.

And what happened to the defense that earned three straight shutouts? That was only a month ago, but somehow it seems like an eternity...

Lineup: Conway, Jimenez, Cichero, Parke, Mendes, Pietravallo, Stammler, Rojas, Richards, Magee, Angel. Subs: Boyens, Kandji, Mbuta.

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