History of Metro in MLS Cup semifinals
van den Bergh, 2008
November 17, 2018
The official website is currently running an article titled "RBNY's Conference Championship History", filled with mistakes some more egregious than the next. So let's clear it up: these are the times Metro appeared in the MLS Cup semifinal.
2000: Chicago, lose 3-6 on total points
This was not technically a conference championship, as MLS went to a three-division setup, with the playoffs being an affair of the top eight seeds. The series were three games, first to five points. (So, first to two wins, or a win and two ties.) Metro, ranked third, finally won a playoff series, sweeping Dallas, and faced Chicago in the semifinal. With starter Mike Ammann ailing from Mamadouchebag Diallo breaking his ribs, and backup Tim Howard away at the Sydney Olympics, Metro was forced to start minor league call-up Paul Grafer in goal. The one in long pants did not fare well in the opener, a game the Fire dominated in an easy 3:0 rout. Ammann, not fully healed, returned for the second leg, and got the shutout, 2:0, with Mark Chung and Adolfo Valencia scoring for Metro. (Remember, first to five points -- aggregate was irrelevant.) In the decider in Chicago, the hosts jumped to an early 2:0 lead, but Metro equalized through Valencia scoring both. Midway through the second, it looked that he gave Metro the lead... only for the goal to come back on a hideous offside call. Future Metro Ante Razov got one for the Fire late, on a play that might have been offside as well.
2008: Salt Lake, win 1:0
In 2008, it was so simple: just one game to get to MLS Cup. What wasn't simple is that MLS decided that after top three in each conference qualify for the playoffs, the next two best records would go in as wild cards. That meant that Metro, as the last team to qualify, had to go to the West bracket, where they dispatched two-time defending champion Houston in the opening series. One game in Utah loomed, and Dave van den Bergh scored (still?) the most important goal in team history on a feed from John Wolyniec. That goal stood as yet another unexpected goalkeeper, Danny Cepero, stood on his head, with much help from the goalpost. Metro went to their first (and so far, only) MLS Cup.
2014: New England, lose 3:4 on aggregate
We're still pissed off about this series. Metro came in on a high after finally winning a playoff game in Red Bull Arena, first dumping Kansas City and then finally exercising the ghosts of DC. Unfortunately, the Revs scored early, but Bradley Wright-Phillips equalized. Rev hack Jermaine Jones took over the game, first with a nasty, brutal, two-legged scissor tackle on Dax McCarty which somehow escaped punishment, then with a late goal that saw his team grab the series lead. BWP was suspended for game two, but Metro came out flying, scoring first through Tim Cahill to even on aggregate, but still lie behind on away goals. The Revs responded, but Peguy Luyindula tied it all... only for Charlie Davies to score the decider. It was the last game of Titi Henry's career. We're still pissed off.
2015: Columbus, lose 1:2 on aggregate
Once again, Metro came in after dumping DC. Before the dust could settle, Columbus scored half a minute after the opening whistle. Metro was greatly missing the injured Damien Perrinelle, and the Crew dropped a dagger in the second half to go up two. The Metro offense was ineffective in the home leg, with Anatole Abang scoring very very late to slice the margin... and then BWP hit the goalpost, and that was it.
2018: Atlanta, ?