Metro squishes Worms, enters playoffs
October 20, 2011

New York Philadelphia
10.20.11 · League

Three times in Metro history the playoffs were clinched in the last regular season game, and those games have entered Metro lore. In 2005, Michael Bradley skyed through California air to head in the winner against Chivas USA. In 2006, Amado Guevara's hat-trick demolished Kansas City. And now we have 2011, when Dane Richards headed a ball off the post, only to see it bounce off Faryd Mondragon's back and into the Philly net. That was all Metro needed.

Since Titi Henry was unavailable after his red card shenanigans in Kansas City, "Clever" Hans Backe was forced to make a change, pushing Richards to forward and placing Dax McCarty in right midfield. The fact that Metro never won a game with Richards starting up front was lost on the grizzled manager... But tonight, the streak was broken.

The goal came just eight minutes in, after McCarty sprung Jan Gunnar Solli up the right wing, and the esteemed Norwegian flew a perfect cross onto Richards' head. The diminutive Jamaican, not exactly known for his prowess in the air, sent a blazing header that was unlucky to hit the woodwork. But luck changed a second later, as Mondragon, who flew in an attempt to stop the shot, ended up on the ground, and the ball rebounded off the Worms' keeper, dropping back into the net. Originally counted as an own goal, it was later credited to Richards.

The Metro defense did the rest. The Worms ended up with just a single shot on goal, as everyone from Frank Rost on down were on top of their defensive game. Metro could have extended the lead a couple of times. In their best opportunity, Luke Rodgers missed from the Worms' doorstep when it looked like it was easier to score. Nevertheless, one was enough.

So now, the playoffs, and a road play-in game in a week. The opponent is yet to be determined, and Metro will surely be the underdog... But let's enjoy tonight. It's not often a game enters Metro lore.

Lineup: Rost, Miller, Ream, Keel, Solli, Tainio, Marquez, Lindpere, McCarty, Rodgers, Richards. Subs: Agudelo.

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