Metro doesn't melt in Fire, 1:0
July 18, 2012
It was a lovely weekday afternoon at Red Bull Arena. A gentle summer breeze ruffled the blades of grass. Metro and Chicago played a lively, exciting match, filling 90 minutes with beautiful soccer to appease thousands of rowdy supporters. Or, you know, maybe not.
The thermometer hit 103 and kept climbing. Blurry vision seemed a symptom of hallucination. Players lethargically moved on the field, trying their best not to pass out. The stands were empty sans some youth campers, many of whom decided to leave in the second half. It was that hot. But since Metro won 1:0 on a terrific strike by Titi Henry... we'll take it.
"Clever" Hans Backe decided to bench leading scorer Kenny Cooper, starting the newly-minted French Connection of Henry and Sebastien Le Toux. Victor Palsson got a rare start in midfield, pushing Connor Lade to the bench. Mehdi Ballouchy also started after missing the weekend match.
The lone goal came in the 71st minute. Le Toux swung a ball across the field to Henry. The elder Frenchman, with a defender on him, chested the ball, let it bounce, than hit a thundering strike from what looked like an impossible angle. The ball would have burned a hole in the back of the net if the sun didn't get there first. It was Titi's 10th goal of the season, but his first since April.
Metro easily held on, the Fire's attack waning in the heat. Chicago did have a good chance late in the game, but Brandon Barklage saved the ball off the line to give Bill Gaudette his first Metro win and shutout.
So, a victory, and, to the best of our knowledge, no one passed out or died. So maybe this midweek matinee experiment wasn't exactly a failure...
But let's hope, for everyone's sake, we don't have to sit through it again. It was that damn hot.
Lineup: Gaudette, Miller, Holgersson, Conde, Barklage, McCarty, Palsson, Lindpere, Ballouchy, Le Toux, Henry. Subs: Lade, Cooper, Keel.