Home mastery ends with loss to KC, 2:0
September 19, 2012
The value of home field in MLS Cup playoffs could be discussed ad nauseam, but with Metro's sparkling run at home this season, it could not be dismissed. Ten victories, three ties, and some sparkling offensive performances. And tonight, a chance to move top of the East and a step closer to that playoff home field. Well, so much for that. The home streak is over, as Metro was completely outclassed by Kansas City, losing 2:0. Any chance for playoff home field looks to be over as well, as the visitors opened a five point lead at the top of the conference.
"Clever" Hans Backe outsmarted himself by switching to a 4-4-1-1. Teemu Tainio and Joel Lindpere started the match, with Jan Gunnar Solli and Kenny Cooper sent to the bench. Tim Cahill lined up as the supporting forward.
The Wiz scored off two set pieces early in the match. In the 12th minute, a needless foul by Tainio led to a free kick. Graham Zusi hit the crossbar, the ball rebounded into the penalty area, with the Metro defense temporary asleep, watching its trajectory. C.J. Sapong pounced, easily scoring. Seven minutes later, the lead became two after an unmarked Kei Kamara headed in a Zusi corner kick.
Metro's chance were far and between. Their best opportunity of the first half came when Rafa Marquez, who hustled more on the play than in his entire Metro career, stepped up to steal a goal kick. Off-balance, he got the ball to Titi Henry wide, but the Frenchman couldn't finish from a tough angle. Metro finished the half with no shots on goal.
The insertion of Cooper at the break changed things up a bit, but Metro was still not able to penetrate the steady Wiz defense. Jimmy Nielsen was not forced to make one tough save the entire match. There were a couple of opportunities late when scrambles in the penalty area could have resulted in a goal, and Lloyd Sam provided a spark off the bench, but tonight, the home team felt off.
Let's hope that's not the case as we continue towards the playoffs.
Lineup: Gaudette, Conde, Holgersson, Pearce, Lade, Marquez, Tainio, Lindpere, McCarty, Cahill, Henry. Subs: Cooper, Sam, Le Toux.