Juan Agudelo leads Metro over Seattle, 1:0
March 19, 2011
Of the many questions heading into the season, one of the most major ones dealt with the forward partnership. Sure, Thierry Henry was a given to start, but who will join him? Will 18-year-old Juan Agudelo, who showed so much promise in limited action late last year but missed most of the preseason with an injury, prove to be the guy?
Well, the question has been answered. While Henry missed a penalty kick, Agudelo scored a brilliant goal -- his first in MLS -- to give Metro a 1:0 win over Seattle.
The other major question, of the starter in goal was answered as well, as "Clever" Hans Backe decided to go with Greg Sutton over the incumbent Bouna Coundoul. The defense saw Roy Miller, Tim Ream, and Rafael Marquez joined by Jan Gunnar Solli at right back. Teemu Tainio, the other Scandinavian making his Metro debut, ran the show from defensive midfield. The usual suspects Joel Lindpere, Dane Richards and Mehdi Ballouchy rounded out the midfield, with Henry and Agudelo up front.
The penalty call came in the ninth minute, when Agudelo was tripped in the box by Jhon Kennedy Hurtado. The play looked harmless, but you take these when you can, and Henry went to the spot, and telegraphed the ball to his left, where Kasey Keller easily saved it. Say what you want about Juan Pablo Angel, but at least he nailed his penalty kicks.
Metro, with its newly-minted short passing game, held most of the ball throughout the match. Unfortunately, getting through Seattle's defense to create quality scoring chances was not that easy. On the other end, the Sounders could not do much, with their best chance of the half coming with Fredy Montero walked in on Sutton. The Canadian behemoth parried the ball, which rebounded to Solli, and the Norwegian did his best to let his keeper smother it.
The lone goal came in the 70th minute. Tainio sent in a long ball to Agudelo, who was held by Hurtado. The Seattle defender, afraid to get a second yellow, threw up his arms, and the Metro youngster was off to the races. He blew by the pathetic Leo Gonzalez and slotted the ball past Keller.
Seattle almost tied the game late, with a shot off a free kick going high. Sutton's expression of relief summarized the match, as Metro started the season on a winning note.
And Agudelo's mastery made this note not just winning, but special.
Lineup: Sutton, Miller, Ream, Marquez, Solli, Tainio, Ballouchy, Lindpere, Richards, Agudelo, Henry. Subs: Tchani, Borman.