Metro takes the East with 2:0 win over Revs
October 21, 2010
This one was a long time coming. No, not a regular season over New England... well, that too, but winning the regular season conference title. Last time that happened was ten years ago, in 2000, during a brief period when MLS switched to a three-group format, rechristened divisions. But tonight, with a 2:0 win over the Revs behind goals by Dane Richards and Joel Lindpere, Metro claimed the regular season crown. They now own playoff home field advantage for the first time in franchise history.
Thankfully, "Clever" Hans Backe ditched the 4-5-1, and the good old 4-4-2 came out. Roy Miller returned from suspension to send Danleigh Borman back to the bench, and Jeremy Hall got a rare start as Chris Albright was held out. Mehdi Ballouchy and Lindpere started the way they finished the last match -- on the left and in the middle respectively. Tony Tchani was sent to the bench for the first time in months, as Salou Ibrahim became the second forward.
Metro broke through 17 minutes in. With most of the Revs team caught upfield, Metro won the ball, and Juan Pablo Angel, positioned around the center circle, sprung Richards on the right side. The blazing Jamaican saw an empty field in front of him, and torched down the right side, stopping just inside the penalty area to blast home the only goal Metro would need.
The Revs, who hadn't lost to Metro in a regular season game since the magnificent Youri Djorkaeff cut through them in 2005, were absolutely pathetic. Even as the uneven refereeing kept giving them free kick opportunities close to the Metro net, they could produce jack squat. Their best chance came when Bouna Coundoul bobbled what looked to be a harmless throw-in. The ball fell to the ground, but the Metro defense came up big.
Lindpere put the game away in stoppage time. Tchani, who entered the game late, found the Estonian on the left side, even with the last Rev defender. Lindpere walked into the net, got Rev keeper Bobby Shuttleworth to commit, and subtly placed the ball around him. And that was all she wrote.
So now, the playoffs begin. The opponent is still unknown, the date of the first leg is still up in the air. And Metro will be the favorite in a playoff series for only the second time in team history. We'll see. This has been a historical season already.
Lineup: Coundoul, Miller, Ream, Mendes, Hall, Marquez, Ballouchy, Lindpere, Richards, Ibrahim, Angel. Subs: Tchani.