Bad defense, calls help sink Metro in Philly, 3:1
July 16, 2014

Philadelphia New York
Le Toux
07.16.14 · League

In a disjointed performance emblematic of the team's up one game, down the next form this season, Metro succumbed to the Worms 3:1 on the banks of the Delaware. Both teams came off surprising offensive performances on Saturday night, but Philadelphia was the only side to continue their offensive streak from the weekend.

Dax McCarty's return to the starting eleven relegated Bobby Convey to the bench, while Eric Alexander took the Philadelphia native's spot on in left midfield. Other than that one change, Mike Petke trotted out the same side that demolished Columbus on Saturday night.

In retrospect, perhaps Petke should have rotated his squad to some degree. Despite the short ride down to Chester, the Metro players appeared as though they had just come off a transatlantic flight. Sluggish and second to almost every ball, Philadelphia was well in control of the opening stanza.

It wasn't much of a surprise when the hosts broke through first before ten minutes when Conor Casey created his own goal. The burly Worm striker played Wenger toward the endline and found himself an acre of space at the top of the box, vacated by the retreating Matt Miazga. Casey received the ball cleanly and took a quick step in Miazga's direction, where the Metro youngster tried to disrupt the play but found only air. Hung out to dry by his defense, Luis Robles was helpless to stop Casey from scoring.

Metro tried to respond quickly through Lloyd Sam, who did well to find himself some room to shoot in the box, but Philadelphia goalkeeper Zac MacMath was up to the challenge, denying the Englishman from close range. Another gaffe by Miazga gave the ball to Sebastien Le Toux just outside the box, but this time Casey's attempt went high and wide.

More of the same from Metro as the second half began led to yet another Worms goal. Little-used hack midfielder Fred replaced Cristian Maidana in the 33rd minute, and improbably the Brazilian made the visitors pay. Sheanon Williams played a low cross from the right which Casey half-dummied, half-deflected into the path of the onrushing Fred. Again, lax marking offered Robles no chance of denying the opposition.

At least Metro made the second half briefly interesting when Bradley Wright-Phillips tallied his 16th goal of the season in the 61st minute. A brilliant feed from Titi Henry (who else?) offered the Englishman the space he needed to apply the finish. The assist was Henry's 40th in all competitions, setting the club's all-time record. A few minutes later it looked like BWP evened the score, but the goal was wrongly called offside.

Alas, it would all be for naught when Eric Alexander was called for a foul in the box in the 68th minute. Despite what must be a record number of penalties called against Metro this year, Balmodero Toledo saw fit to reward Maurice Edu's grabbing Alexander's shirt, followed by an exuberant dive, by pointing to the spot. Le Toux, Metro reject, showed no pity for his former employer and fired confidently past Robles into the upper-right corner.

The loss drags Metro back down into the mire of the middle of the Eastern Conference table, just when they had created a bit of separation for the final playoff spot. It now looks like the team will remain in competition for the final wild-card slot through the end of the year, hardly the level of ambition expected from the reigning regular-season champs.

Lineup: Robles, Oyongo, Miazga, Olave, Duvall, McCarty, Alexander, Cahill, Sam, Wright-Phillips, Henry. Subs: Akpan, Convey, Lade.

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