Metro plays RSL to a scoreless draw
October 9, 2010

New York Salt Lake

10.09.10 · League

We're not gonna be the ones to criticize Hans Backe. The playoff spot is clinched. The value of home field advantage can be questioned. The team is on a five-game streak without a loss, including today's 0:0 tie with Salt Lake. It's just... well, does he have to tinker at this point of the season?

It's pretty clear that the team plays its best in a 4-4-2. But ever since Mehdi Ballouchy's acquisition, "Clever" Hans has tried to find a way for the Moroccan to get on the field. Oh, it hasn't exactly backfired, as Metro hasn't lost since the trade. But the newly-minted 4-5-1 just doesn't seem as potent as the previous formation.

With Bouna Coundoul and Dane Richards away on international duty, Greg Sutton slid into the nets, and Joel Lindpere switched to the unfamiliar right side. Thierry Henry was pushed back as the left wing in the five-man midfield, and Rafa Marquez returned from injury to reclaim his usual spot in the center.

The experiment didn't exactly work offensively. Oh sure, the usually-blind Jair Marruffo missed two clear hand balls on Salt Lake, one early, the other late in the first half. But other than those, Metro's offensive opportunities were not exactly opulent. Of their 16 shots, they placed just one on goal, and that was an easy save on Ballouchy's effort.

The defense was sturdy, leaving Sutton little to do. Tim Ream recovered from an early mistake that led to Andy Williams hitting the post by playing an excellent match. So at least the defense seems set for the postseason.

The offense... well, we'll see if "Clever" Hans stops tinkering.

Lineup: Sutton, Miller, Ream, Mendes, Albright, Marquez, Tchani, Lindpere, Ballouchy, Henry, Angel. Subs: Agudelo.

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