Two years ago, NY played Chicago Fire in their final game of the regular season. After 90 minutes and 5 goals, Metro got their hands on their very first trophy – the MLS Supporters’ Shield.
This year, it was a similar story: last regular season game against Chicago; a win guaranteed the Shield. But some details were different. This year there were no big names to score wondergoals or scrappy winners. Metro talisman Mike Petke wasn’t there to lead the team. And the game was at Toyota Park, a house of horrors we could never seem to win at. Metro wasn’t going to run away with a win.
The 2015 Shield had to be earned. And boy, was it earned.
2-1. Sacha Kljestan’s corner kick glanced off Sal Zizzo’s head and into the feet of Bradley Wright-Phillips –the ultimate scoring machine– right on Chicago’s doorstep for a tap-in. Mike Grella later won a penalty, which was expertly converted by Kljestan. Chicago came alive in the second half and scored. For some reason, NY felt the need to bunker down against the WORST TEAM IN THE LEAGUE.It got nervy. Dallas was winning their game against San Jose, and a Metro draw would’ve pissed it all away. But again – this was about earning a victory in Chi-town.
Who expected the year Metro is having? Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill left behind BWP as our only DP. Mike Petke was (unceremoniously and tactlessly) fired. Suddenly, 2015 was written to be a rebuilding year, but Jesse Marsch & Co. didn’t get the memo. This is a great team – skilled and well-drilled. Gone are the “Give the Ball to X and Hope for the Best” tactics. This current team isn’t run on star power, because the current team is the star. But if I may point some guys out for quick recognition:
- Dax McCarty has now worn the armband both times NY won the Shield. Another terrific season from the Ginger Ninja / Sex God. He’s quietly slipped into Metro Legend status.
- Bradley Wright-Phillips, sans Thierry Henry, is still as lethal as ever. 17 goals this season is nothing to look down on. He’s now 3rd all-time record goal scorer.
- Sacha Kljestan was our unconventional midfield maestro. A #8 playing as a #10. Rarely put a wrong foot in the entire season. Tied the single season assist record.
- Lloyd Sam scored a new personal best of 10 league goals this season – our second best scorer in 2015. I’m surprised he stays so fit with all the left backs he eats up on the reg.
- Luis Robles, the Based Shutout God, again made the case that he’s one of the best goalkeepers in MLS, and one of the greatest GK in Metro history.
- “Young Matt” Miazga has emerged as a phenomenal center back. Kid’s bound for Europe and the USMNT back line.
- Felipe is a stud. He grinds it out at DM every single game, and chipped in with an occasional goal. He’s an endearing weirdo. He reads all the tweets you tag him in.
- Mike Grella, AKA “Grellinho” AKA “Magic Mike” AKA “Mike-lemore” AKA”Grella Artois” AKA “Long Island Jesus,” exceeded all expectations. He broke records and ankles.
Metro’s work isn’t finished. Playoffs start soon, and we want MLS Cup. But I’ll celebrate a little now. The Supporters’ Shield is back in New York. Twist and motherfucking Shout!