Metro wakes up from slumber to rout San Jose, 4:1
May 8, 2009

New York San Jose
Rojas 2
05.08.09 · League

Well, maybe Juan Carlos Osorio finally learned his lesson. A 4-4-2 with players playing in their proper positions led to a dominating performance that saw Metro score as many goals in the first half as they did in the eight games prior. The 4:1 final scoreline seemed closer than the actual match, a sound beating of a dreadful San Jose team.

There would be some much-needed changes to the starting eleven. Food-poisoned Jon Conway sat in favor of Danny Cepero; the defense remained in place with the exception of Mike Petke's return from exile to partner the stalwart Kevin Goldthwaite in the center. Spaniard Albert Celades would make his long-awaited debut alongside Seth Stammler in central midfield while Jorge Rojas and Sinisa Ubiparipovic manned the left and right sides respectively. The previously promising forward tandem of Juan Pablo Angel and Macoumba Kandji would return for another go.

The changes paid off immediately, as Metro struck only seven minutes into the game. Rojas, playing in Dave van den Bergh's familiar position on the left flank, would score a goal reminiscent of the one van den Bergh sent into the Toronto goal just a year prior. From about thirty yards out Rojas sent a free kick looping toward Joe Cannon's net that appeared destined to meet the head of the onrushing Goldthwaite. The ball was a tad high, however, and proceeded unmolested into the lower corner of the net past the befuddled Cannon.

A mere six minutes would pass before the next Metro tally. Taking a long throw from Carlos Johnson, Kandji sent in a perfect long cross right into the path of the streaking Rojas, who headed the ball in from close range. Nine minutes on, it would be a three-goal margin as Angel placed the ball past Cannon off of a perfectly precise cross from Kandji.

The flurry of goals would slow only temporarily; by minute forty it was an astounding four-goal lead when Kandji stripped San Jose's Kelly Gray and curled the ball around the onrushing Cannon. San Jose would muster a close range last-gasp reply before the half off of Ryan Johnson's head (from a nice feed by Ramiro Corrales, who still sucks), but the margin would remain an intimidating three goals.

The second half would start with a more spirited effort from San Jose, but despite a number of Metro missteps in front of goal, Cepero and the much-maligned defense repelled each foray into the box. Metro would remain dangerous throughout the half, counterattacking and keeping the Earthquakes honest as they pushed forward further and further in desperation as time wore on. Three intelligent substitutions from the beleaguered Osorio, seeing Dane Richards, Danleigh Borman, and finally John Wolyniec each see the field in the latter part of the second half, would cap the Metro victory.

Would it be reasonable to expect such exceptional play going forward, or is this match destined to be 2009's version of the 6:0 Salt Lake drubbing in 2006, a bright light in an otherwise dim season? The positive response from Osorio, changing his tactics and substitution patterns, after a long week full of criticism over his stewardship of the franchise may bode well for the future. As always, we're skeptical, and will look for consistency in next Saturday's match against the revitalized Dynamo.

Lineup: Cepero, Pacheco, Goldthwaite, Petke, Johnson, Stammler, Celades, Rojas, Ubiparipovic, Kandji, Angel. Subs: Richards, Borman, Wolyniec.

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