Henry sees red as Metro crashes in KC, 2:0
October 15, 2011
There are red cards that change the course of the season. Three times in Metro history, those came in the penultimate game. In 1997, Branco spat on Mike Lapper; he was ejected, Metro lost and missed the playoffs. In 2002, Metro needed a point in its last two games to make the postseason; Clint Mathis was ejected early and Tim Howard got a needless late red, and short-handed Metro was sent to its doom. In 2011... Well, we'll see if Thierry Henry's red card will have such disastrous effects.
The ejection came in the 28th minute. Henry was trailing the play, and, with Rodger Espinoza on the ground, ran into the Kansas City midfielder from the back. Whether it was intentional or not is hard to say; whether that matters is a moot point. Kevin Stott, whose refereeing decisions have done more than their share to hurt Metro through the years, pulled a straight red. And just like that, the job became so much harder.
Kansas City opened the scoring in the 57th minute, when Stephen Keel failed to clear a corner kick. Teal Bunbury came up with it, and slammed it past Frank Rost. And with no Henry on the field, and what little creativity Metro showed up to that point, scoring a goal became an improbability.
The Wiz doubled the lead off another corner kick in the 74th, this time C.J. Sapong scoring. One would think that after getting burned on all these set pieces through the year, something would have been attempted to fix the situation. Or not.
Houston's defeat of Portland a day earlier meant that a win would have clinched Metro a playoff berth. This result makes everything depend on the season finale versus the Philly Worms, a game Henry will have to sit out. Will 2011 stand with 1997 and 2002 among Metro late-season failures, or will the trend be reversed? We'll find out soon enough.
Lineup: Rost, Miller, Ream, Keel, Solli, Tainio, Marquez, Lindpere, Richards, Rodgers, Henry. Subs: Agudelo, Ballouchy, Auvray.