Metro ties Arsenal, wins Emirates Cup!
July 31, 2011
It didn't matter that Metro currently languishes mid-table in MLS. It didn't matter that they've only won two league games in the last three months. It didn't matter that they were playing one of the most expensive teams in the world in their own tournament. It didn't matter that they've tied more than half their games this season.
Actually, that last one mattered.
It mattered because going into today's match, Metro only needed a tie to escape London with the Emirates Cup title. A tie they got, earning it on an 84th minute own goal by Arsenal's Kyle Bartley, a name that will surely enter Metro lore.
"Clever" Hans Backe decided to rest the opener's goalscorer, Joel Lindpere, starting a rather clever 4-1-4-1 lineup. Rafa Marquez was sweeping in front of the back four and Arsenal hero Thierry Henry was the lone man upfront. And Titi had Metro's best chance of the first half, curling a free kick over the wall to force a diving save from the Gunners keeper.
It wasn't only the best chance, it was Metro's only chance. On the other end, Arsenal threw everything on goal. If not for the terrific central defense pairing of Tim Ream and Carlos Mendes, and the saves of Frank Rost, the floodgates might have opened. Instead, all Arsenal got is one, in the 42nd minute, when Robin van Persie headed in a Tomas Rosicky free kick.
The game settled a bit in the second half, as Arsenal seemed happy to run out as one-goal victors. What they didn't realize is that Metro is the master of tying.
In the 84th minute, Henry, acting on the left side, got the ball to Roy Miller. The Costa Rican sent a cross in front of the goal that was supposed to reach Stephen Keel; it never did, and instead was knocked into the net by Bartley. Metro had the tie. Today, the tie was as good as win.
And pandemonium ensued. Perhaps not on the field, although the players seemed happy with winning a trophy. But for us, Metro fans, who have been dreaming of winning the Emirates Cup for 94 long days, it was a long time coming. Hell, we might not win anything in the league this year, but at least we are champions of a two-day tournament that is treated as a warm-up for real competition by some of the world's largest teams.
And what other MLS team can claim that?