Magical Metro wins the West
November 16, 2008
Four minutes into injury time, a shot by Salt Lake's Javier Morales looked destined to go into the Metro net. It hit the post. Welcome to Bizarro Metro World.
In this Bizarro Metro World, they win two straight games on the road after winning just one during the regular season. In this Bizarro Metro world, the breaks go their way. In this Bizarro Metro World, a lineup of youngsters and no-names somehow wins games. In this Bizarro Metro World, they are the Western Conference Champions.
1:0, the final scoreboard read. 1:0. The lone goal coming from the foot of Dave van den Bergh. The biggest goal in club history. 1:0.
Once again, Juan Carlos Osorio decided to stick with what worked. The only change was the insertion of Carlos Mendes for the injured Andrew Boyens. Mendes, who was banished from defense by Osorio for the first 32 games of the year, did not disappoint.
And neither did the rest of the defense. Kevin Goldthwaite and Chris Leitch -- yes, that Chris Leitch -- were terrific. Diego Jimenez played the best game of his short Metro career. And when the defense leaked -- after 90 minutes of pressure it was due to leak time after time -- Metro was saved, be it by Danny Cepero's clutch goalkeeping, or the goalpost. The Morales shot in injury time. His free kick in the first half. The slow roller late that looked destined for an empty corner before Will Johnson ran onto it and touched it off the paint and out.
And the goal, the lone goal of the match. In the 28th minute, John Wolyniec -- yes, that John Wolyniec -- got behind Salt Lake's Jamison Olave on the left flank, ran along the endline, and centered the ball. Juan Pablo Angel attempted to run onto it, drawing Nick Rimando and a defender with him. Rimando got a touch, and the ball landed at the feet of unmarked van den Bergh, who originally started the play with a pass to Wolyniec. The Walking Dutchman did not miss.
He did not miss, and they held on. The last 30 minutes saw the best defensive effort in Metro history. Ten men behind the ball, they defended like a team. Welcome to Bizarro Metro World.
So now, it's MLS Cup, and it's Columbus. Enjoy the biggest win in team history -- so far. The biggest match in team history is just one week away.
Lineup: Cepero, Goldthwaite, Jimenez, Mendes, Leitch, Sassano, Richards, van den Bergh, Ubiparipovic, Wolyniec, Angel. Subs: Rojas, Pietravallo.