Wynne-to-Altidore extinguishes the Fire
September 30, 2006

New York Chicago
09.30.06 · League

Peter Canero is not dead. But more on that later, for we have to praise Josmer Altidore. If Metro make the playoffs this year, it could because of that 16-year-old. Altidore, who two weeks ago scored the lone goal in the win against Columbus, repeated that feat tonight, knocking in a pin-point Marvell Wynne cross as Metro beat Chicago to keep their playoff hopes alive. With Salt Lake coming back to tie Kansas City, Metro and the Wiz are now tied for the last playoff spot with 35 points, and Metro owns the tiebreaker. Both teams have two games left, and play each other in the finale at Giants Stadium.

After Tony Meola allowed four goals vs DC, Jon Conway came back in net. Chris Henderson also came back to start on his usual place on the left wing, as Dema Kovalenko shifted right and Markus Schopp sat. But the big change was the insertion of Altidore in the starting lineup for Youri Djorkaeff, who was invited by French president Jacque Chirac on an official visit to Armenia.

Referee Jair Marrufo's incompetence started to show early, as a Metro player was taken down at the edge of the Chicago penalty area, but no foul was called. Metro, led by a resurging Amado Guevara, controlled the ball for most of the first half, but nevertheless needed a huge save from Conway in the last minutes to enter the break scoreless. That turned out to be the Fire's lone shot on goal, as Metro defense, led by Jeff Parke, was back to its best form.

Early in the second, Henderson sent in a pass onto an onrushing Guevara that was unfortunately a few inches too far. The captain still managed to control the ball, but the ensuing shot went wide of the target. However, soon after that, Metro struck. In the 60th minute, Wynne took a pass from Danny O'Rourke and outraced Chicago up the right wing, sending in a perfect low ball onto Altidore. Josmer roofed it into the Fire net for his third goal in four games.

As the game went on, Marrufo's calls and non-calls became more and more ridiculous. In the 80th minute, a clear foul on the Fire was missed, but the ensuing one, on Wynne, wasn't, as Marvell's second yellow gave him the marching orders. He left to a standing ovation.

And then there was Peter Canero, entering in the 83rd minute to take over at right back. Oh, Canero! Alexi Lalas promised us that you will solve our wing woes, but at this point we'll take some mop-up duty in the back. Hell, you might need to start next week with Wynne suspended. Thanks, Marrufo.

Lineup: Conway, Stammler, Mendes, Parke, Wynne, O'Rourke, Kovalenko, Henderson, Guevara, Wolyniec, Altidore. Subs: Schopp, Canero, Graham.

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