Patched-up Metro shocks LA, 1:0
May 5, 2012
Half a year ago, Metro traveled to Los Angeles to a playoff game that ended up ending their season. That match-up was built as one of giants; tonight, there was none of that. Oh, the Galaxy brought their usual star-studded lineup, but Metro was a little short-handed, to stay the least. Yet the result was quite the opposite. Joel Lindpere scored the lone goal of the match as Metro emerged with a surprising victory.
In fact, only four players that started the playoff game started for Metro tonight, and three of them were in different positions (Lindpere in the middle, Dax McCarty in defensive midfield, and Jan Gunnar Solli, fresh off an injury, in left midfield). The lone holdover, Dane Richards, manned his usual right midfield spot, as "Clever" Hans Backe decided to shift to a 4-5-1, with McCarty in front of the defense and Kenny Cooper the lone man upfront.
Metro withstood an early Galaxy onslaught, and broke through in the 19th minute. Solli got the ball from Connor Lade on the left side and fed the onrushing Lindpere. Usually, taking an extra step in the box signals doom, but not this time around. The Estonian took what initially looked like an unnecessary step and slammed the ball home past the helpless Bill Gaudette. The Galaxy was stunned. It was Metro's lone shot on goal of the entire match.
The second-choice defense, coming off its first shutout last week, repeated the feat. McCarty was once again excellent disrupting and distributing, and the young defenders proved to be more than anyone expected. Even the much-maligned S. Markus Holgersson, honored by wearing the captain's armband in Titi Henry's absence, was stellar, clearing the ball off the line when the game was still scoreless.
When the ball did get through the defense, Ryan Meara was once again up to the task. The rookie goaltender made a remarkable save on Juninho's long range drive, pushing the ball destined for the top of the net over the bar. He continued to command the penalty area, coming off the line with easy expected in a veteran.
So somehow Metro now sits on a two game winning and shutout streaks. Some of the injured players are due to return soon. However, should Backe mess with something that's working?
Lineup: Meara, Lade, Holgersson, Ruthven, Barklage, McCarty, Solli, Ballouchy, Lindpere, Richards, Cooper. Subs: Palsson, Agudelo.