Metro pays steep price for 1:0 survival over Revs
April 28, 2012
So far, the storyline this season has been, no matter how bad Metro's defense and midfield are, Thierry Henry can bail them out. And time after time he did. Even today: his goal was the only tally of the match, and Metro beat New England 1:0. But now, the season gets a new storyline. For midway through the first half, Henry strained his right hamstring, ruling him out for the rest of the match -- and for the next 3-4 weeks.
The injuries to Stephen Keel and Jan Gunnar Solli meant that "Clever" Hans Backe was left with one starter on defense, the often bumbling S. Markus Holgersson. Connor Lade, Tyler Ruthven, and converted midfielder Brandon Barklage made the rest of the inexperienced backline. In midfield, Backe decided to finally give Joel Lindpere a chance in the center, as he pushed Victor Palsson to the bench. The Icelander did make an appearance, replacing Henry.
The game started much like the bulk of Metro's home performances this year: with complete domination by RBNY. This time, it took them only seven minutes to break through. Lade sent a through ball up the left wing. Henry, with Stephen McCarthy glued to him, got his foot on the ball at the edge of the box, floating it over Matt Reis and into the net.
Metro's domination did not stop there. They moved through the Rev defense at will, but sadly could only produce shots that went straight at Reis. This went on for 23 minutes, when Mehdi Ballouchy sent a through ball, and Henry, running alone in midfield, pulled up lame. The immense pain that he endured, clutching his right leg, could almost be felt by every Metro supporter. But there was a game still to be played.
And what a different game it became. Metro dominance was no more; it was now New England with all of the ball. And it was time for the makeshift defense and Ryan Meara to come up big. The rookie netminder came up tall once and again, stopping Saer Sene on two point-blank occasions. It was much of the same in the second half, and, when Benny Feilhaber escaped through the Metro defense to get an uncontested header on net from inches out, there was Meara, swarming the ball.
So, a win. Meara's first pro shutout. But now, so many question marks. How long will Henry be out? Can this team survive without him?
It's not a storyline we wanted to face.
Lineup: Meara, Lade, Holgersson, Ruthven, Barklage, McCarty, Lindpere, Ballouchy, Richards, Cooper, Henry. Subs: Palsson, Arteaga.