Sene's PK miss eliminates Metro from CCL, 0:0
September 24, 2014
Earlier in the day, we were told how the Austrian overlords pulled out all the stops for tonight's critical CONCACAF Champions League match. Chartered flights! Private chefs! Lodging in El Salvador's finest hotel! Sadly, no amount of the "good life" could spur on a reserve-laden side to overcome Santa Ana-based minnows CD FAS as Metro was eliminated from the competition in a 0:0 draw.
After confidently stating that "ninety percent of the roster, maybe even a little more" would be on the plane to Central America and that the team he fielded would not "be the same as Montreal", Mike Petke... trotted out a team that looked suspiciously like the one that lost to Montreal.
Technically, Petke was correct about the team; this time first-teamers Lloyd Sam, Peguy Luyindula, Dax McCarty, and Chris Duvall got the nod in their usual roles. That being said, not one of Metro's four highest-paid players -- Titi Henry, Tim Cahill, Bradley Wright-Phillips, and Jamison Olave -- were so much as named to the bench. Since we're dealing with technicalities here, if Petke's math was accurate, we're hoping whichever one of the aforementioned players went on the trip (as well as one-fifth of one of the remaining three) will at least share some exciting vacation photos in the coming days.
Sam's appearance proved to be little more than a cameo, as he had to be removed in the 17th with tightness in his hamstring. As critical as the Englishman has proven in league play this year, one certainly hopes the substitution was precautionary. Down to three regular starters, as second-round pick Eric Stevenson replaced Sam on the right, a plodding Metro attack could muster little to threaten the FAS goal.
Fortunately for this team of USL-caliber talent, they only had to find a single goal, and when Ambroise Oyongo was cut down in the box in the 35th minute they had their opportunity. Saer Sene (former Bayern Munich reserve!) sauntered up to the spot and ineptly fired the ball over the crossbar.
Predictably, that would be all she wrote for Metro the rest of the way. Oyongo appeared to be the only player up for the game, and while he showed some attacking verve, his teammates proved incapable of providing him support. A rare chance with five minutes left saw Ruben Bover separate from his marker, only to fire the Cameroonian's cross directly at the keeper.
For the second time in two attempts, Metro has failed to make it out of the Champions League group stage. While we sincerely doubt the journey would have lasted much longer than the first knockout round, this result cannot be seen as anything other than a failure by the organization. Much depends now on Metro qualifying for, and advancing in, the MLS Cup playoffs.
Lineup: Meara, Eckersley, Armando, Perrinelle, Duvall, Oyongo, Christianson, McCarty, Sam, Luyindula, Sene. Subs: Stevenson, Alexander, Bover.