Breakthrough goal not enough in Colorado, 2:1
April 17, 2016
We have fond memories of snow-affected soccer in Colorado, though it has nothing to do with the oft-cited United States match against Costa Rica in 2013. In 2005, Metro legend Amado Guevara dropped a hat trick on the Rapids in one of his most memorable performances, securing the team's first win of the season after a disappointing start to the year. Unfortunately, in similar conditions and circumstances no current Metro embodied the spirit of the Honduran hero in a limp 2:1 defeat.
Enough about club history, what about the game tonight? It was sloppy and physical, with bodies flying all over the pitch from the opening whistle. In the first few minutes of the match, German carpetbagger Jermaine Jones took the opportunity to clip Sacha Kljestan from the ground, eliciting a firm shove from the normally sedate midfielder after the play. Referee Ricardo Salazar's laissez-faire approach kept Kljestan from seeing yellow, but shenanigans abounded throughout the match.
Jones would put the hosts on the scoreboard in the 21st minute. After Marco Pappa managed to extricate himself from being pinned by two Metro defenders against the endline, he crossed into the box where Jones somehow stood unmarked. The simplest of finishes was demanded from the Metro nemesis to put Colorado ahead.
The Metro reply would not come until the second half, and then from an unlikely source. Much-derided center back Ronald Zubar returned to action in this game, and found himself unmarked at the far post after a cleared corner kick. A powerful header from the Guadeloupian off Kljestan's service brought the match level. The tally broke the 300-plus minute scoreless streak Metro had been on, nearly approaching the standard set in the awful 1999 campaign.
Unfortunately for Metro, Zubar wasn't done influencing the match. Off a long kick from Rapids goalkeeper Zac MacMath, Zubar launched himself late into a 50/50 challenge, as is his wont. This time, he lost out to Jones, who knocked the ball over to Luis Solignac while Zubar writhed on the field in pain. Solignac held off a challenge from Karl Ouimette and laid the ball back to Jones, who played through to Dominique Badji. The Senegalese striker took a touch past Dax McCarty and placed the ball inside the far post, leaving Luis Robles helpless.
Speaking of Robles, not only did he put in an excellent performance in trying conditions, he also established a new MLS record for consecutive games played. No other player has manned the nets for Metro since September 2012; over that span not only has Robles been consistently present, he's grown into one of the best goalkeepers in the league. It's a shame that such a notable achievement has to be overshadowed by the team's current run of poor play.
With a little over one fifth of the season gone and only one win to show for it, can Metro still turn the year around? When do Jesse Marsch's pleas for patience give way to urgency? Will Ali Curtis ever spend money on anything other than new pants? So far in 2016 there are many questions, but few answers.
Lineup: Robles, Lawrence, Ouimette, Zubar, Duvall, McCarty, Martins, Kljestan, Grella, Muyl, Wright-Phillips. Subs: Lade, Abang, Sam.