Mighty Metro hammers hapless Houston, 4:0
April 23, 2014
It's no secret that the season to date has caused much consternation among the Metro faithful, but tonight -- at last! -- the team broke out of their funk, demolishing the visiting Dynamo four goals to none. Metro saw the opportunity in front of them, a reeling Houston team at the end of a three-game road sojourn and in the middle of playing three games in eight days, and took full advantage.
No doubt emboldened by the side's success against the Worms a week prior, Mike Petke kept the lineup intact with the lone exception of inserting Armando in place of the suspended Ibrahim Sekagya.
Bradley Wright-Phillips opened Metro's account in the 12th minute with a fine tally from point blank range. The build-up was a sterling example of what onlookers see this club being capable of. Sam started it with a ball from the deep right to Dax McCarty. Immediately under assault from Houston defenders, McCarty set up Kosuke Kimura to his right. The Japanese fullback threaded a well-weighted pass to Titi Henry, who then delivered an exquisite low cross that Wright-Phillips flicked past helpless Houston keeper Tally Hall.
After a couple weak Dynamo chances ended up in the secure hands of Luis Robles, Metro widened the gap to two goals in the 24th with yet another series of excellent play leading to Wright-Phillips' second of the game. Bursting upfield from his defensive third, Henry shook off a lazily attempted tackle from Ricardo Clark and sent the Metro reject tumbling onto the grass. The French legend picked out a streaking Roy Miller on the left with a long pass from midfield, one that looked a tad ambitious at first, as Houston right back Warren Creavalle appeared to have position to intercept. Miller delighted the crowd by sliding in and regaining possession; with no one in orange to pressure him, the Costa Rican international dribbled toward the endline and fired in a sharp low cross to Wright-Phillips, who applied the most economical of finishes by slyly redirecting the ball inside the far post.
Metro finished the first half strong, with Wright-Phillips missing out on a hat-trick due to a fingertip save by Hall in the 36th minute, but the second stanza nearly opened in disastrous fashion. A miscommunication between McCarty and Armando meant Giles Barnes snatched possession and bored down on Robles' goal along with Will Bruin. As Jamison Olave stepped up to force Barnes' hand, he laid the ball off to Bruin, who aimed for the far post but was thwarted by the savvy Robles, who had come off his line to cut down the angle. Houston again threatened on the ensuing corner kick, as Clark redirected a ball that required intervention from Kimura on the goal line to keep the score at 2:0.
Metro made the margin three in the 65th minute. Henry found Wright-Phillips with an incisive pass that led him to Hall's right, but the behemoth Houston netminder stymied the Englishman. Hall couldn't control the rebound, which ricocheted into the center of the pitch, where Henry waltzed past the dumbfounded Creavalle to apply the finish.
Oh, but what of Wright-Phillips' potential hat trick? As unkind as they have been to him in the recent past, the fates (and a certain Frenchman) looked kindly upon BWP this evening. With mere minutes to go, a scramble in the box saw Henry taken down and referee Jair Marrufo waved off an apparent goal by substitute Ruben Bover to signal for the penalty. The Metro captain magnanimously handed the ball off to Wright-Phillips, who repaid Henry's faith by confidently drilling the ball past Hall to his left. It would be the first-ever hat trick by an English player in MLS, and the first for Metro since Henry's master class against Montreal in 2012.
While the players and fans were long overdue to enjoy a thrilling, dominating victory like this one, Henry offered sage advice afterwards in saying, "let's not get too happy about everything." Let's take the captain's advice to heart!
Lineup: Robles, Miller, Olave, Armando, Kimura, McCarty, Alexander, Luyindula, Sam, Wright-Phillips, Henry. Subs: Steele, Bover, Lade.