Metro, Toronto exchange early goals in draw
June 30, 2012
For a year and a half since arriving in New York, Jan Gunnar Solli could not find the back of the net. After finally breaking through last week, he scored for the second straight match, giving Metro an early lead in Toronto. Unfortunately, the hosts replied right away, for what ended up being the only goals in a 1:1 draw.
"Clever" Hans Backe was forced to make changes, as Rafa Marquez decided he was injured again, Wilman Conde returning to take his place. Connor Lade moved to left back, pushing Roy Miller to the bench. Dane Richards returned from suspension to his usual right midfield slot, swinging Solli to the left. Joel Lindpere returned to central midfield, as Mehdi Ballouchy is still not allowed to leave the country. Titi Henry made his first start in over a month up front.
The goal exchange started in the 4th minute, when a Brandon Barklage cross found Solli in the box. The midfielder-turned-defender-turned-midfielder redirected it in with a flick of his foot. Toronto responded two minutes after, off a corner kick. Danny Koevermans, their doughboy striker, was somehow left unmarked, heading in the equalizer.
One would think that this was just the beginning of goals, but one would have been wrong. But it's not for the lack of chances. Late in the first half, there was another frantic exchange. First, a Lindpere cross hit the post; Kenny Cooper was free on goal, but just missed redirecting it in. Then, on the other end, Koevermans was once again left unmarked off a set piece, but shot it just wide.
In the second half, Solli (isn't it obvious he should have been playing in midfield from day 1?) made a good run up the left side, shooting it just wide. Henry's long bomb fooled the Toronto defense and sailed just high. Then, after Metro strung together numerous passes, Henry sent Lindpere through on goal. The Estonian has his legs taken out in the box by Logan Emory, but no foul was called. Toronto's best chance came late, when sub Stephen Keel did well to clear a dangerous floating ball out of danger.
So, the season is halfway over, and Metro is sitting in good position. But, just like tonight, it could have been just a tad better...
Lineup: Meara, Lade, Conde, Pearce, Barklage, McCarty, Solli, Lindpere, Richards, Cooper, Henry. Subs: Palsson, Keel, Miller.