Resurrected Angel brings Metro back to life
August 10, 2008

New York DC United
Angel 2
08.10.08 · League

Twenty minutes into the match, it looked liked business as usual at Giants Stadium. Visiting DC was up a goal, Metro looked lifeless, and rain was drenching the players and the fans. Suddenly the drizzling stopped and the sleeping giant of MLS strikers, Juan Pablo Angel, finally awoke and almost single-handedly brought the Scum to their knees after falling down a goal early. The final scoreline of 4:1 evens up the season series with DC, is the largest victory ever for Metro over their archrivals, and comes at a critical time in Metro's playoff push.

Juan Carlos Osorio made a number of changes to the lineup for this match. He trotted out a three-man backline of Jeff Parke, newcomer Gabriel Cichero, and left-side stalwart Kevin Goldthwaite. The five-man midfield consisted of usual suspects Dave van den Bergh and Seth Stammler; Luke Sassano was tapped to replace Dane Richards on the right, Jorge Rojas once again starred in an attacking role, with Juan Pietravallo cleaning up behind him. Surprisingly, Mike Magee was called upon to make a rare start up top alongside the aforementioned Angel.

After Magee missed a scoring opportunity off an excellent Sassano cross, it appeared to be another day of same old, same old at the Swamp. When Jaime Moreno slipped passed a stumbling Parke to head home the opening tally in the 16th minute, the one-goal lead seemed insurmountable.

Juan Pablo Angel had other ideas.

When Metro was awarded a free kick in the 26th minute, Angel stepped up and waved off Rojas. He then proceeded to bury a hard shot above the wall and between the near post and a diving Zach Wells. Appearing inspired by Angel's confident shot, Metro would press on for another goal, as Mike Magee would indirectly benefit from yet another superb van den Bergh cross. The high arcing ball that rose from the classy Dutchman's left foot appeared to confuse Wells and DC's defenders as it floated toward Angel at the far post. DC's Marc Burch headed the ball to the center of the box, right to an unmarked Magee who applied the finishing touch.

The second half would start as the first ended, with a goal just five minutes after resuming play. Goat of the day Burch, attempting to corral a long-distance back pass, blooped a slow header in the direction of Wells. Angel, who put himself in perfect position while pressuring the defense, ended up being the recipient of Burch's header and smoothly chipped the ball over the onrushing Wells. DC would not recover, as the physical Metro defense halted each foray into their side of the pitch. A garbage-time goal from substitute Sinisa Ubiparipovic, his first in MLS action, would put the finishing touch on an encouraging performance against the hated Scum.

Perhaps one of the enduring images of the match was Pietravallo bumping and shoving a frustrated Moreno, who could only turn and holler in response. After his initial goal, Moreno was a non-factor, and literally disappeared in the second half as former Metro Santino Quaranta came on in his place. Victories over the Scum are few and far between; those of the crushing variety are even more so. After the malaise of the season's first two-thirds, could this team finally be rounding into form for a playoff run? The optimist in us can only hope.

Lineup: Conway, Goldthwaite, Cichero, Parke, Sassano, Stammler, Pietravallo, van den Bergh, Rojas, Magee, Angel. Subs: Mendes, Leitch, Ubiparipovic.

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