Metro's clinch thwarted by KC, 0:0
October 20, 2012
It wasn't supposed to go down like this. A potent offense, three designated players, a roster that -- on paper -- should contend for the league. And yet, with the season on the line, two straight shutouts -- at home -- left Metro's playoff life in the balance. No, tonight's 0:0 draw with Kansas City was nowhere nearly as bad as the last game vs Chicago, but tonight a win was needed to clinch a berth. A win they did not get.
Brandon Barkalge's injury and Wilman Conde's mysterious personal issues led to "Clever" Hans Backe reshuffling the defense. The embattled manager switched Heath Pearce to the left side, inserted Connor Lade on the right and Rafa Marquez in the middle. Teemu Tainio came in at defensive midfield, with Dax McCarty moving to the left for Joel Lindpere. Lloyd Sam, back from injury, started on the right for Jan Gunnar Solli.
Metro had a number of quality chances in the first half, but KC's Jimmy Nielsen stopped them all. Titi Henry served a corner kick that created havoc in the 6-yard box, but goalkeeper smothered the ball. He then blocked a McCarty shot, and a Kenny Cooper follow-up went high. Finally, a long Cooper volley was parried by Nielsen.
Second half was much of the same. First, Tim Cahill set up Henry, but Nielsen came out, forcing the shot wide. Then, he stopped a close-range Henry shot and got lucky as his face ate the rebound. McCarty had a chance late, but his turnaround shot was controlled by the omnipresent KC keeper.
Luis Robles has the easiest of games to get his first Metro shutout. He only had to make one save, but it was a big one, stopping Kei Kamara from close range late in the game. Metro still has a chance to clinch a playoff berth by the end of tonight based on other results...
But it wasn't supposed to go down like this.
Lineup: Robles, Pearce, Holgersson, Marquez, Lade, Tainio, McCarty, Sam, Cahill, Cooper, Henry. Subs: Lindpere.