Lone shot on goal dowses feeble Fire, 1:0
May 18, 2016
Sometimes, when a club is not playing well -- and this Metro squad was about as poor as can be in a lifeless performance against the archrival Scum -- the only tonic that will do is the opportunity to face an inferior opponent. Enter the Chicago Fire, the worst team in the league entering tonight's match. Metro hardly covered itself in glory, but manufactured a single goal (its only shot on goal in the entire match) from Mike Grella to outlast the pathetic Fire.
Jesse Marsch trotted out his usual starting eleven, the lone exception being Connor Lade, who took Sal Zizzo's place at right back. The diminutive defender featured heavily in the early portion of the match, aggressively pushing up into the attack and harrying Chicago's wide men when out of possession.
Faced with a deeply flawed, incompetently constructed roster, the Fire have approached most of the season from the standpoint of a British League One relegation candidate, deploying five defenders at times and always keeping the majority of his team behind the ball. With Chicago parking the bus from the opening whistle and Metro's ineptitude creating scoring chances, the two sides combined for a drab first half. Metro controlled possession over 72% of the time, but didn't put a single shot on Sean Johnson's goal.
The Metro breakthrough came early in the second half. Bradley Wright-Phillips collected the ball off a Fire turnover and backheeled the ball to Lloyd Sam at the edge of the box. The Chicago defenders shifted to cover the English duo, leaving Grella alone to apply the finish.
With the lead, Metro only had to account for Chicago's one trick: playing speedy winger David Accam (who should have seen a card for the elbow that split open Lade's brow in the first half) and striker Kenny Igboananike high up the pitch, awaiting a long ball from the defense or midfield. Although the duo forced the scrambling Metro defense into a few close calls, the Fire rarely threatened, putting two of their 14 shots on goal. An offensive showcase, it was not.
It was hardly a convincing performance from a Metro side desperately in need of one, but the win still counts for three points. That being said, we certainly hope for better on Saturday in the Bronx against the poseur neighbors.
Lineup: Robles, Lawrence, Collin, Duvall, Lade, McCarty, Martins, Kljestan, Grella, Sam, Wright-Phillips. Subs: Veron, Muyl, Zizzo.