Henry sends Scum packing in first leg, 2:0
November 2, 2014

New York DC United

11.02.14 · Playoff

Just a few days ago, Red Bull Arena was being discussed as Metro's playoff house of horrors; 72 hours later, the Harrison cathedral has become the fortress from which Metro has launched their assault on the Eastern Conference. The latest victim was the top seed, as the Scum head back to DC down two goals in aggregate. Bradley-Wright Phillips tallied his third postseason goal and Peguy Luyindula opened his account with a slick finish between the legs of Bill Hamid. Yet it was the Titi Henry show once again as the Metro captain set up both goals and sent the Scum running for the safety of the team bus.

Despite playing their third game in eight days, Mike Petke only made a single change from Thursday night's starting eleven, inserting Luyindula for Tim Cahill in the attacking midfielder role.

Petke expressed concern after the game that he may have demanded too much from his players, as the fatigue from schedule congestion was apparent in the first fifteen minutes of the match. The reconstituted backline held together under the initial Scum attacking flurry, with former whipping boy Richard Eckersley putting in a particularly solid shift.

Once the Metro players shook off their early sluggishness, however, it was DC who spent the rest of the half on their back heel. Eckersley -- playing out of his mind, by his typical standard -- stripped Chris Pontius on the right. He then led a quick counterattack with Wright-Phillips missing wide right, though the striker was flagged for offside. Metro ramped up the pressure on Bill Hamid with a pair of near-misses by BWP and Luyindula before breaking through in spectacular fashion in the 40th minute.

Henry started the move in central midfield, laying off a pass to Lloyd Sam that the winger latched onto up the right side. Using the space created by Sam's movement with the ball, Henry perfectly timed his run between the Scum midfield and defense, receiving the ball in the center of the box, understandably drawing the attention of every defender in the area. The French master took the Scum players to school, calmly backheeling a perfect pass into the path of the trailing Wright-Phillips, who did not disappoint with his finish.

Metro came out swinging in the second half, keeping the pressure on the opposition goal. The Scum played like a team terrified of Henry and company's attacking prowess. Hamid managed to bail his beleaguered defense out with an unlikely double stop on Sam then BWP, but he couldn't keep Metro from doubling their advantage in the 73rd. Henry made a little room for himself on the left and lofted a ball over the top of the DC backline. A streaking Luyindula settled it with a smooth first touch and embarrassed the Scum keeper by sliding the ball between his legs for the score.

Having avoided conceding an away goal to the Scum, Metro heads to DC in the driver's seat with a healthy advantage. Petke attributed part of his team's recent upswing in form to the extra attention his players have given preparing for the playoffs; they will need to maintain that level of focus this week if they hope to be only the third Metro side in team history to progress to the Conference Finals on Saturday.

Lineup: Robles, Miller, Olave, Sekagya, Eckersley, McCarty, Alexander, Luyindula, Sam, Henry, Wright-Phillips. Subs: Cahill, Oyongo.

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