Altidore's super blast beats 9-man Crew
September 16, 2006
A new hero is born, and his name is Josmer Altidore. With the game tied at zeroes, Metro uninspiring, and only seven minutes left in regulation, the youngster, in just his second league match, blasted a shot from way outside the box and into the Columbus net, as Metro pulled out three pivotal points. The game was marred by three ejections, and a missed penalty kick by Youri Djorkaeff.
Amado Guevara's suspension saw Metro shift to a 3-5-2, with Djorkaeff, returning from injury, taking Amado's place. The captain's armband went to Carlos Mendes, in the middle of the three-man backline as Jeff Parke shifted right and Marvell Wynne started at right midfield. Chris Henderson was his opposite on the left, as Dema Kovalenko moved to a more central position.
Metro got a break 20 minutes into the match, as the Crew's Joseph Ngwenya was ejected after hitting Seth Stammler high up with his studs out. But the Metros failed to use their man advantage, playing uninspired soccer and not creating quality opportunities. Play picked up a little in the second half, and New York looked to get a break as ex-Metro Chris Leitch was whistled for a hand ball in the box in the 56th minute. But Crew keeper Bill Gaudette moved early and guessed correctly on Djorkaeff's penalty kick, and the game remained scoreless.
In the 64th minute, Metro went down to ten, as Mike Magee, who entered the game just three minutes earlier, got sent off for an idiotic hand to a Columbus player's face. But Metro regained the man advantage in the 71st, as Crew defender Marcos Gonzalez was kicked out for an elbow that drew blood from John Wolyniec.
And then, as we were all but ready to write this article, commenting how Metro have failed to steal any points late all year, it was Altidore time. The 16-year-old became the second youngest player in club history to score, as his blast seemed to burn a hole in the Crew net. But the victory was not a given at that point, as few minutes after that, the man who is still the youngest Metro ever to score, Eddie Gaven, missed wide for Columbus from point-blank range in perhaps the Crew's only good chance of the game.
And although Altidore deserves the spoils, a lot of praise has to go to the Metro defense, and especially Mendes. But the defender, who was as solid as always tonight, picked up his fifth yellow card of the year, meaning he will miss midweek's match. Hopefully, the defense will survive his absence.
Lineup: Conway, Stammler, Mendes, Parke, Wynne, O'Rourke, Kovalenko, Henderson, Djorkaeff, Wolyniec, Buddle. Subs: Magee, Altidore, Vide.