Metro lets 10-man Houston come back, 2:2
July 31, 2010
For 89 minutes, Thierry Henry's MLS debut looked like a success. It wasn't perfect: Metro's new superstar couldn't find the back of the net, missing badly on his two great chances, but he did set up Juan Pablo Angel for two goals. And with Houston down a man, Metro looked golden to escape Texas with a win. That is, until Carlos Mendes was beaten on a header by Brian Mullan, and the home team squeezed out a 2:2 tie.
Other than Henry, lineup changes from the last league match included Roy Miller retaking his starting left back spot from Danleigh Borman and Chris Albright returning to the lineup at his customary right back spot. Tony Tchani started in the center of the midfield and Mac Kandji on the right, pushing Sinisa Ubiparipovic and Dane Richards to the bench.
Ten minutes into the match, Henry got the ball in the left corner, spun to create space, and sent in a cross into the box to Angel. The Cherubic Assassin slammed the ball into the net from close range for what sure is to be the first of many connections for the striking tandem.
Houston leveled the match in the 24th minute. Miller was down injured in midfield, but Houston decided not to be sportsmanlike and continued to play. At the end, Joseph Ngwenya made a meal of it in the box, Mendes was called for the foul, and after much discussion, former Metro Brad Davis easily converted the penalty kick to Bouna Coundoul's right.
Angel and Henry almost connected soon after, but the Frenchman missed from close range. And then, in the 39th minute, it was tiem for Brian Ching to make a meal of it, and Tim Ream was called for a penalty kick. After not facing one all season, Metro was called for their second of the half -- but this time, Davis shot high, and the game remained tied.
Three minutes from the half, a perfect through ball by Angel put Henry alone against the goalkeeper, but Thierry sadly pushed the ball wide. It will come... it will come. Then, a collision in midfield between Mendes and Lovel Palmer led to a red card to the latter. It wasn't exactly an appropriate decision, but after having calls go against them, Metro finally got one go their way.
The new striking partnership once again worked its magic in the 58th minute. Henry sliced a ball to Angel at the edge of the box, and Juan Pablo sliced the ball through the net for the lead.
And the lead looked insurmountable, because Houston just didn't threaten the rest of the way... until one minute left in regulation, when Mullan somehow beat Mendes to the header and tied the match. Success will have to wait.
Lineup: Coundoul, Miller, Ream, Mendes, Albright, Stammler, Tchani, Lindpere, Kandji, Henry, Angel. Subs: Richards, Robinson.