Replacement ref steals win from Metro, 1:1
March 15, 2014

New York Colorado
Henry Sanchez
03.15.14 · League

Now, let's not forget, even the regular MLS referees are pretty terrible. In fact, we'll never forget a terrible penalty call from supposed stalwart Kevin Stott back in 2005. Then, it cost Metro the victory. The story was the same today.

The culprit? Replacement referee Alan Kelly, whose terrible second-half call on Jamison Olave led to Colorado tying the game on the ensuing penalty kick. The game ending 1:1, Metro ruing lost opportunities... and the terrible luck of being on the wrong side of a call by an incompetent ref.

But first things first. Mike Petke reshuffled the lineup, moving Bobby Convey up to the midfield, as Roy Miller started at left back, and Jonny Steele went to the bench. He was joined there by Ibrahim Sekagya, Eric Alexander, and Peguy Luyindula, as Olave, Titi Henry, and Bradley Wright-Phillips made their first starts of the season.

The latter two combined early, with Henry setting up the Englishman a minute into the game, but the shot was blocked by a Colorado defender. Henry then set up Armando off a free kick, but the Spaniard's header was deflected as well.

Metro's early advantage waned by the end of the first half. It was now Colorado who had the upper hand, and Metro was lucky to avoid a goal after scrambles in the box that followed back-to-back-to-back corner kicks.

The second half started like the first, with Metro dominating. They finally broke through in the 57th. First, Wright-Phillips did well to keep the ball in play, as it ended with Lloyd Sam. A cross was sent through the penalty box, where it met Henry, diving to head it in. And, with Colorado not showing any offensive prowess after the break, that should have been it.

But it it wasn't. In the 72nd minute, the obtuse Kelly decided to whistle Olave for a penalty kick. It was an absurd moment: the Metro defender stood in the box, as the Rapids attacker fell into him, dropping onto the grass as a pile of bricks. In fact, Olave did everything in his power NOT to touch the diver. No matter; to the spot Kelly pointed, and Vicente Sanchez beat Robles to the right.

Metro had a number of chances late, but could never pull the trigger. In injury time, Henry did manage a shot from close range, but it was saved by the keeper. Then, in the dying minutes, Colorado got a breakaway, but Richard Eckersley did well to track back and force the ball high.

So, Metro sits on one point after the first two games. We shouldn't be worried; that's how last year started... right? Right?

Lineup: Robles, Miller, Olave, Armando, Eckersley, McCarty, Convey, Cahill, Sam, Wright-Phillips, Henry. Subs: Steele, Alexander, Luyindula.

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