Osorio fails at old stomping ground
October 23, 2008

Chicago New York
Rolfe 3
10.23.08 · League

A year ago, an overmatched soft drink salesman, somehow put in charge of a soccer team, decided to give up a bounty to sign the under-contract coach of the Chicago Fire, Juan Carlos Osorio. Marc de Grandpre has since gone back to his first love, pushing beverages, and Osorio's first season with Metro could only be described as up-and-down. Still, with one game left in the regular season, the team was in control of its own fate. Win and in. And what better place to get that win than in Osorio's old stomping grounds, Chicago. The script could not have been written better.

Except in this script, Juan Carlos Osorio is the villain.

30 games into the season, off a huge win... Of course, Osorio tinkers. Metro comes out in a 4-4-2, with Gabriel Cichero coming in for Diego Jimenez, Juan Pietravallo in defensive midfield, pushing Seth Stammler wide right, Jorge Rojas in central midfield pushing Dave van den Bergh left, and Mike Magee moving to the front as the second forward.

The first goal came in the 11th minute, as Metro was caught upfield. An overcommited Pietravallo allowed Cuauhtemoc Blanco to spring Justin Mapp, with an empty field in front of him. Danny Cepero had to commit in the box to push the play wide, but sadly it all ended with Stephen King centering the ball to Chris Rolfe for the goal.

In the 32nd minute, we had our response. Who else to provide it, but van den Bergh and Angel, the team's two best players this year. The Dutchman fought off a Fire defender, sent in a perfect cross to the Colombian, and Angel powered it home with his head. 1:1. A tie would be an OK result, all things considering.

But the tie did not last. In the 38th minute, Cichero headed the ball back to Cepero. The ball skipped on the wet grass, barely missed the Metro net, but caused an unnecessary corner kick. Immediately following, Cichero failed to clear the ball, and Rolfe volleyed it from just outside the box to put his team up one. Then, just one minute before the end of the half, a total breakdown on the right flank saw Rolfe walk in for a hat-trick and a two-goal lead.

More tinkering in the second half; Luke Sassano in for the injured Stammler, and Mac Kandji for the terrible Pietravallo. Dane Richards was nowhere to be seen... He'll make his appearance, but not until Metro went down 4:1 after a Brian McBride goal. It then became 5:1 after a goal by Daniel Woolard. And in the closing minute, Kandji made it 5:2. Game over.

Season over? Well, not yet. A Columbus win or tie over DC Sunday will push Metro in through the back door. That will give Juan Carlos Osorio two more games. Two more games to tinker with lineups. Two more games to break the fans' hearts.

We feel bad. We feel bad for van den Bergh and Angel, who deserve better than this sorry franchise. We feel bad for the longer-tenured Metros: Stammler, Magee, John Wolyniec, Jeff Parke, Carlos Mendes. Some of them played tonight, some didn't, but these long-time soldiers have been through everything with this club, only to have another administration fail them so miserably.

We don't feel bad for Osorio. We don't feel bad for his three South American mercenaries, the lethargic Rojas, the putrid Pietravallo, and the oblivious Cichero.

We feel bad for the fans.

But hey, it's not over. Yet.

Lineup: Cepero, Goldthwaite, Cichero, Boyens, Leitch, Pietravallo, Stammler, van den Bergh, Rojas, Magee, Angel. Subs: Sassano, Kandji, Richards.

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