Metro cuts down Timbers, clinches playoffs
September 20, 2015
In some seasons, the playoff clinch is highly anticipated, highly nerve-wrecking, and highly under the wire. This season? Not as much.
Today, Metro clinched a playoff berth by going on the road and dispatching Portland, 2:0. Both Metro goals were scored late in the first half that saw a dominating effort.
Suspensions to Dax McCarty and Connor Lade meant rare starts for Sean Davis and Sal Zizzo, the latter's first as a defender. Jesse Marsch also changed up the wings, resting Mike Grella and Lloyd Sam for Shaun Wright-Phillips and Gonzalo Veron. The two midseason signings started for the first time.
After Metro controlled the ball for seemingly the entire first half, they broke through in the 42nd minute. Marsch hurried a throw-in (he really should get an assist on the play), and Kemar Lawrence dropped it for Felipe. The Brazilian, win no man on him, walked the ball from the sideline into the middle of the field. With still no marker in sight, he placed a beautiful shot from outside the box that paralyzed the baffled Portland goalkeeper.
In injury time, Metro looked to go up two, when a Veron shot off the corner crossed the line, but was cleared out. No goal was called, but moments later, justice was served. Zizzo got the ball to Damien Perrinelle, who was still close to the Portland net due to the recent set piece. The yellow-card-loving Frenchman outjumped a defender and headed in his second career Metro goal.
Metro had numerous chances to score in the second half, but the memorable play came on the other end. Luis Robles, who was making his 100th consecutive start in league play, made a save off a Portland free kick, but let the ball drop right in front of him. With no player in sight, Nat Borchers made a run and just needed to tap it in. Somehow, Robles recovered and saved the ensuing effort. It was truly one of the greatest saves one would ever see.
Metro had no other trouble holding on for the win, and, with it, a playoff spot. And yet, it seems that this year, a playoff start should only be a starting point.
One can hope.
Lineup: Robles, Lawrence, Perrinelle, Miazga, Zizzo, Davis, Martins, Kljestan, Wright-Phillips, Veron, Wright-Phillips. Subs: Sam, Grella, Zubar.