Titi's hat-trick turns debacle into demolition
March 31, 2012

5:2
New York Montreal
Henry 3
Cooper
Ballouchy
Nyassi
Mapp
03.31.12 · League

It looked like one of those games. Stupid mistakes, bad goalkeeping, leaky defense, losing to a supposedly inferior team... And then... And then a penalty goal right before the half to tie it. This was followed by a brilliant second half performance that gave Metro a 5:2 win over Montreal. Titi Henry, after scoring two last week, got his first Metro hat-trick, and tallied a head-turning assist as well.

"Clever" Hans Backe stuck with the same lineup as last week, but the supposed cohesion was not seen early. In the 18th minute, S. Markus Holgersson fell in the box while trying to clear the ball. Sanna Nyassi pounced, beat Ryan Meara to the short side, and just like that, the expansion Impact was on top.

Titi tied the game ten minutes later. Off a throw-in, Rafa Marquez (well worth the money on this PLAY) sent a perfect ball into the box that was met by the Frenchman's head. We were now level... for ten minutes as what looked like a weak shot from Justin Mapp trickled through the penalty area and tucked inside the left post. Meara, who had the worst game of his short career, looked to had the post covered, yet there it was. The Canadians were up again.

The game-turning play happened right before the break, as Matteo Ferrari hacked down Dax McCarty in the penalty area (this after earlier holding down Henry, a clear penalty that was missed). Kenny Cooper went to the spot, stutter-stepped so Donovan Ricketts committed, and easily slid it down the middle. We were level once again.

Teemu Tainio entered for Marquez at the half, and... it was all Metro from there. Scratch that, it was all Henry (now here is someone worth the money!). In the 55th minute, McCarty made a run into the box, and passed it back to Titi, who was waiting at the edge of the penalty area. The Frenchman received the ball with his back to the net, spun around, and unleashed a shot past a dumbfounded Ricketts. Metro had the lead for the first time.

Titi's mastery was clear on the next goal as well. Jan Gunnar Solli found himself free on the right endline, and walked the ball inside the box. The Norseman centered the ball to Henry, who backheeled it back to Mehdi Ballouchy, and the much-maligned Moroccan did not miss. The Montreal defense looked dumbfounded... as they should have been.

The hat-trick was completed one minute from time. Titi got the ball to Cooper, who unleashed a shot from outside the box that Ricketts parried. Unfortunately for the Canadians, Henry continued his run, and ended with the rebound to put an exclamation point on a terrific performance that will for sure go down in Metro lore.

Now let's hope they can continue this on the road next week...

Lineup: Meara, Miller, Holgersson, Conde, Solli, Marquez, McCarty, Lindpere, Richards, Cooper, Henry. Subs: Tainio, Ballouchy, Barklage.

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