Metro batters Charleston in the Open Cup, 3:0
May 29, 2012
Of all the ups and downs of the Hans Backe era, perhaps the nadir was last year's Open Cup. The supposedly clever manager decided not to travel for the quarterfinal game in Chicago, sending a reserve team that was spanked by the Fire 4:0. After the fans made their dissatisfaction clear, Backe and the organization had a quick turnaround. There will be no such idiocy this year. They are in it to win it. Showing up tonight was a good place to start.
On the site where their Open Cup runs were thwarted twice before, Metro spanked the Charleston Battery 3:0 behind goals by Kenny Cooper, Heath Pearce, and Connor Lade. Given injuries and international absences, Backe started the best possible lineup, and the effort showed.
The first goal came in the 14th minute as Mehdi Ballouchy got the ball to Cooper. The towering striker calmly eschewed the defender, turned around, and placed the ball into the bottom right corner of the net.
Metro doubled the lead four minutes before the break. Off a Ballouchy corner, Dax McCarty swung the ball to the far post, where an onrushing Pearce put it in from close range. The defender, who started at left back due Wilman Conde's return to central defense, scored his first Metro goal in just his second game.
Also scoring his first goal was Lade, whose marvelous curving ball from outside the box punctured the upper right corner of the net in the 70th minute.
Jonathan Borrajo and Ryan Maduro made their first-team debuts as late substitutions.
So, Metro moves on and will go to Harrisburg, the site of their 2010 demise, in the next round. One more win is needed to reach the stage they lost at a year ago. And this time, the team -- and its clever manager -- is showing up.
This is how
clever smart managers win ballgames.
Lineup: Meara, Pearce, Conde, Holgersson, Barklage, McCarty, Lade, Solli, Ballouchy, Arteaga, Cooper. Subs: Palsson, Borrajo, Maduro.