Metro fights back for a point in Utah, 1:1
July 30, 2014
Three years ago, with the grizzled Hans Backe roaming the sidelines, Metro tied game after game after game. They ended the year with 16 draws, an MLS record. All of that meant that a late season push was needed just to squeeze Metro into the playoffs.
Well, this year looks to be a repeat, with one minor difference: the 2011 team actually won more games than it lost. This one has not been on the winning side of the ledger often enough. But we're not here to talk about wins or losses. Let's talk about tonight's 1:1 tie with RSL.
In all honesty, it wasn't too terrible of a point. Playing in Salt Lake, where Metro hadn't scored since the memorable 2008 playoff encounter (Dave van den Bergh with one of the greatest goals in team history). Sure, it wasn't pretty...
Lloyd Sam's absence due to yellow card accumulation meant that Eric Alexander had to step in on the right. Ambroise Oyongo moved up to take Alexander's spot in left midfield, and Roy Miller made his first start since returning from the World Cup at his usual left back spot.
RSL's goal came in the 18th minute. The home team controlled the ball off a corner kick, and Luis Robles made an excellent save. Unfortunately, the ball rolled to Chris Wingert, who passed off to Joao Plata. The attacker send a ball towards goal that somehow missed every Metro defender, as well as Robles' outstretched arm.
At that point, it didn't look too good. It looked even worse late in the half, when Titi Henry sent a through ball that was misskicked by Nick Rimando. The ball landed at the feet of Oyongo, with only the empty net in front of him -- tough angle, sure, but an empty net... -- and the youngster missed.
Metro did get the goal, completely against the run of play, in the 57th. Usual goalscorer Bradley Wright-Phillips played provider this time around. Operating on the left side, he passed the ball into the box, where Tim Cahill was stationed, his back towards goal, defender on him. The Aussie laid it off to Henry, who perfectly placed it into the bottom right corner.
Oyongo would make amends for his miss late in the game. Off a Salt Lake corner, the brobdingnagian Chris Schuler was left open for a free header, but Oyongo saved it off the line to preserve the tie.
So, yes, the tie, the 10th of the season. At some point, these ties need to turn into wins. We're not trying to set another record here, are we? "Clever" Hans would be so proud...
Lineup: Robles, Miller, Sekagya, Olave, Duvall, McCarty, Oyongo, Cahill, Alexander, Wright-Phillips, Henry. Subs: Bover, Luyindula.