Pathetic effort leads to drubbing by Chicago, 5:1
May 25, 2008

New York Chicago
Altidore Barrett 2
05.25.08 · League

All week long, media coverage focused on the storylines leading up to Metro's clash with the Fire. Chicago held a grudge over coach Juan Carlos Osorio's complicated departure; Metro held a grudge over the subsequent difficulties they faced when dealing with Chicago over player transactions. Despite his public denials, Osorio himself supposedly wanted nothing more than to defeat his former employer and their head coach, once his assistant. Similarly, that employer and coach wanted nothing more to defeat their former comrade and prove that they could do just fine without him. Certainly some of this emotion would spill over onto the field, resulting in the sort of hard-fought, physical matches this rivalry has been known for over the years.

Perhaps we were too hasty in glossing over Osorio's suspension from this match, while his counterpart Denis Hamlett remained present, as one side clearly received the memo while the other did not. Unfortunately, that team turned out to be the Metros, who appeared lackluster and at times incompetent in losing by a whopping four-goal margin.

The lineup Osorio handed to stand-in head coach Richie Williams was yet again different from the one he sent out against Kansas City the week prior. Surprisingly, Osorio opted for a 4-5-1 this time out; Juan Pablo Angel started up top while Jozy Altidore began the match on the bench. The four-man backline was similar to last week's three-back configuration, with Andrew Boyens sliding over to partner Jeff Parke in the middle in order to accommodate Hunter Freeman at right fullback. Danleigh Borman and Dane Richards kept their place on the wings, but the central component of the midfield was shaken up. Returning from injury, Claudio Reyna started in an attacking position with Luke Sassano and career defender Carlos Mendes playing the holding roles behind him.

It didn't take long for Chicago to break down Osorio's defensive-minded formation. Eight minutes into the match midfielder Cuauhtemoc Blanco found a streaking Chad Barrett, who soundly beat Freeman to the ball and easily scored on a helpless Jon Conway. It was all Chicago for the remainder of the half, the Metro midfield incapable of possessing the ball for any substantive period of time. Two chances eventually came for Metro against the run of play, one on a free kick that Parke headed wide, the other on a half-volley taken by Borman that sailed over the crossbar.

Fortunate to be down by only a single goal at halftime, and with Osorio's central midfield experiment appearing to be one best forgotten, surely Metro would make a couple substitutions, alter their formation, change their tactics... right? That was not to be the case however, as the same squad that was dominated in the first half took the field to start the second. The result of this stubbornness, this misplacement of confidence, whatever it may have been, was disastrous. Three minutes into the second half, the gap widened to two goals as Blanco found Chris Rolfe who headed past Conway with not a white shirt in sight. Five minutes later, the lanky Boyens dragged down Justin Mapp in the box, resulting in a Blanco penalty kick goal.

Down three goals, in the 55th minute Metro finally brought on their attacking options in Altidore and midfielder Mike Magee, but it was far too late. Barrett would tally again in the 60th minute, and Gonzalo Segares, who had largely neutralized the dangerous Richards, completed the rout for Chicago two minutes later. A fine goal from Altidore that came in garbage time was the only reply Metro could muster.

Lineup: Conway, Goldthwaite, Parke, Boyens, Freeman, Mendes, Sassano, Reyna, Borman, Richards, Angel. Subs: Magee, Altidore, Ubiparipovic.

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