Somehow, Metro ties Scum in playoff opener
November 3, 2012
It wasn't pretty. In fact, it was pretty damn ugly. Atrocious in every aspect, from the opening kickoff on. Yet somehow, somehow Metro escaped DC with a 1:1 draw after a crazy match that saw a penalty kick save, two own goals, and... well, let's just get into it.
You could sense that something was up in the air when "Clever" Hans Backe elected to sit Kenny Cooper, off a two-goal performance, for Sebastien Le Toux. Something about Le Toux starting away games, Cooper at home... Don't ask why, no one but Backe is that "clever". In any case, one could count on one hand the number of times Le Toux touched the ball in the game. To say he was ineffective would be an understatement.
In fact, no part of Metro's offense was effective. Even Titi Henry, who can be so ever brilliant, was completely taken out of the game. If Metro was to score, it would have to come from an unlikely source. And it did. But we'll get to it in time.
First we need to talk about how the Scum dissected the Metro defense from the opening kickoff. Luis Robles was called on to make a couple of big saves, reaching with his fingertips to knock the ball wide. Then, in the 33rd minute, Connor Lade was called for a handball in the penalty area and Chris Pontius stepped up to the spot. Robles responded with a diving save that he made look easy. The game remained scoreless heading into the break.
And in that break, the ever-"clever" manager decided to remove Rafa Marquez (precautionary calf stiffness was the official reason) for Roy Miller. Now, our disdain with Marquez is widely known, and Miller is a better player than many give him credit for... but boy, has he stunk up the field in the last two playoffs. So when in the 61st minute he redirected a DC cross into his own net, all one could do is hang his head and hope against hope that somehow Metro can turn it around and rescue a point.
And rescue a point they did. Four minutes after the Scum score, Henry served a corner kick that was headed towards the net by Heath Pearce. Bill Hamid grabbed the ball... but as he was coming down, failed to keep in play, carrying it over the goalline. American soccer, if this is your future starting goalkeeper, we weep.
And then, in the 71st minute, the Scum's Andy Najar, after a disgusting tackle on Joel Lindpere, was about to be shown the yellow card. His response was to throw the ball directly at Jair Marrufo. The referee quickly gave the red, and somehow Metro was now up a man. Sadly, they couldn't take advantage even after the late insertion of the now-muttonchopped Cooper... but "Clever" Hans seemed to be happy with a tie.
An ugly, crazy, ugly, ugly tie.
Lineup: Robles, Pearce, Holgersson, Marquez, Lade, Tainio, Lindpere, McCarty, Cahill, Le Toux, Henry. Subs: Miller, Cooper.