Metro pulls win over Portland out of its tuchus
August 19, 2012

New York Portland
08.19.12 · League

Last year, we kept making fun of "Clever" Hans Backe for his failure to make subs. Well, tonight the grizzled one saw his team down early, made a substitution, and saw it pay off immediately, as Metro turned a 2:0 deficit into a 3:2 win. That being said, if there ever was a game where the winning team was not deserving of victory, it was this one.

Portland struck off a Metro corner kick in the 8th minute. With the entire New York team caught upfield and Roy Miller slow to return, Sal Zizzo raced up the flank. He crossed to Bright Dike, and the strangely-named forward opened the scoring. In the 32nd minute, the underdogs doubled the lead, as Miller was abused like a rented mule on a Darlington Nagbe goal. The Costa Rican first lost the ball at midfield, then had the ball sent through him on the assist.

So Backe decided to do something, removing Miller for Kenny Cooper. Connor Lade switched to the left side. Jan Gunnar Solli, whose start at right midfield moved Sebastien Le Toux to the frontline and Cooper to the bench, switched to right back. The change came in the 36th minute. It paid off six minutes later, when, after a series of crisp passes, Solli found Cooper's head for the striker's 14th league goal of the year.

Metro tied it in the last minute of the first half. A Dax McCarty shot bounced off a Portland player's hand in the penalty area. It should have been a penalty shot, but before the referee had a chance to point to the spot, the ball rebounded to Tim Cahill, and the Australian blasted in his first Metro goal.

The second chance was not void of chances. First, Donovan Ricketts left a juicy rebound on the doorstep for Le Toux, but the Frenchman misfired from close range. On the other end, Bill Gaudette came up huge, coming up with not one, not two, but three huge saves, the last two on breakaways where goals seemed certain.

With Metro defense being run over time and again, the "Clever" manager decided to make another change. In came Teemu Tainio, and the steady Finn immediately paid dividends as Metro started to control the ball. In the 83nd minute, a clear hand ball was not called in the penalty area, so Metro settled for a corner kick. The ball ended up with Cooper, who, with few options, took it away from the net and found Solli. The Norwegian served his second perfect ball of the game, as it met the head of Heath Pearce, and the defender gave Metro its first lead of the match.

The lead held until the final whistle, as Metro escaped with the victory. We'll take it; we'll ALWAYS take it, but seeing the defense run through time and again like it had tonight -- and has been in recent weeks -- can't help but put a damper on things as we enter the stretch run.

Lineup: Gaudette, Miller, Holgersson, Pearce, Lade, McCarty, Lindpere, Solli, Cahill, Le Toux, Henry. Subs: Cooper, Tainio.

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