Espindola's ejection eventually ends in 1:0 win
September 10, 2014
During a season where just about every referee has seen fit to award Metro's opponents with a slew of questionable penalty kicks, tonight the officiants offered a little karmic retribution. In the 32nd minute, Metro reject Fabian Espindola was sent off for a reckless foul on Dax McCarty. Even though they needed every one of the game's 90 minutes to break down the Scum defense, Lloyd Sam did just that to secure all three points for the home side.
Despite only having a few days' rest after hosting Kansas City on Saturday night, head coach Mike Petke trotted out the same lineup that vanquished the reigning MLS Cup champions. The decision appeared astute at first, with Metro looking like the stronger side through the first half hour.
Shortly thereafter, Espindola was issued his walking papers for a foolhardy kick to McCarty's midsection on a 50/50 ball. While a certain red-headed clown improbably (incompetently) pleaded for sanity with the broadcast team, Metro pushed the advantage and nearly opened a lead through the likes of Titi Henry and Bradley Wright-Phillips. Unfortunately for Metro, on one such attempt the ubiquitous Wright-Phillips pulled up lame and had to come off at halftime with a strained hamstring. Considering how valuable the Englishman has proven during this campaign, hopefully it was a function of fatigue and not a lingering issue.
Metro's inability to turn the man advantage into a lead before the half allowed the Scum to compose themselves and set up a defensive wall in their own third. For most of the second half, the Metro players were content to slowly move the ball from side-to-side, maintaining possession but offering little threat to Bill Hamid's goal. Even an appearance from Australian set piece marauder Tim Cahill couldn't change Metro's fortunes; as the game crept toward full time, it seemed the match would end in a stalemate, two more points to add to the substantive total dropped in this disappointing season.
Just then, when the bile had risen in the supporters' throats, and sphincters across the metro area had fully contracted, Sam found himself on the end of a Jamison Olave pass and saved the day. The burly Colombian defender, involved in the attack for much of the night, collected the ball from Henry and played it back through the Scum defense. Metro's other English stalwart let the ball carry to his right foot and calmly slotted it between the legs of the overrated Hamid.
What seemed improbable at the beginning of the month is now reality -- Metro has won two straight against Eastern Conference frontrunners and has a chance to make it three in a row against this Saturday in Philadelphia.
Lineup: Robles, Miller, Olave, Sekagya, Duvall, McCarty, Alexander, Luyindula, Sam, Wright-Phillips, Henry. Subs: Sene, Cahill, Bover.