Metro wins Supporters’ Shield #2! Twist and Shout!

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!

Oh so Metro. New York wins it’s first Supporters’ Shield.

This team. This fucking team. I’ve been supporting this club since 2006, and if you told me at the beginning of this season that my New York Red Bulls would win the 2013 Supporters’ Shield, I might beat you senseless before realizing there may actually be a chance of that happening.  Though it didn’t look like it at times. Roy Miller’s late antics cost us our first road game in San Jose; Going down 3-0 away in Philly; Losing to fucking Chivas USA. The Curse of Caricola looked like looming over us yet again. But this team turned this season into something special.

In October 5 game against New England, what looked like a 1-0 victory almost became a frustrating 1-2 loss, complete with bad calls and nightmare defending.  I was in the stands for that game. After watching defeat snatched out of the jaws of victory, I let out a painful “That’s so Metro!” But it wasn’t Metro – at least that kind of Metro. Tim Cahill nodded the equalizer past the Revs at the death to salvage a result. I was 20-odd feet away from the corner flag he boxed in celebration. This was a new Metro. A Metro marked by character-revealing performances. Late game comebacks. Defensive heroics. Truly remarkable goals. And after so many player who didn’t seem to care, we finally have a group of guys willing to put in all on the field for the sake of this team. Not a groups of individuals – a team. And when it came down to the last game of the season, with our first major trophy on the line, we got the job done.

The game could’ve gone full Caricola. As if it were a Greek tragedy, former Metro Mike Magee put the early dagger in the hearts of New York faithful. But the Red Bulls came running and stomped out the Fire.

Vous nous gâtez, Monsieur Henry!

Thierry Henry – my lord, Thierry Henry – with a vintage Arsenal barnstormer of an equalizer. Then who else but “Captain Clutch” Tim Cahill to put us in front and on our way to a big boy trophy? Lloyd Sam curling in a beauty to make sure our victory wasn’t a fluke. Eric Alexander with a ruthless finish to put the game beyond all doubt. And Jonny Steele on the end of an Henry cross to complete the rout. Dax McCarty and Man-of-the-Match Peguy Luyindula put on an imperious display in the midfield, the latter racking up 3 assists on the night. Robles coming up huge when Chicago put the pressure on. And plaudits the rest of the team, who did their work in outplaying the Fire in every aspect of the game.

And Mike Petke. What else can I say about Mike Petke? If it wasn’t for Caleb Porter’s stunning work in Portland, my man Petke would make this year’s Manager of the Year voting a no-brainer. The New York native and longtime Metro, who got the reins of the team just 3 seasons after retiring from the game, deserves every accolade for this season’s success.

Thank you, Mike Petke. You did what no other manager could do at this club. You brought this squad together. You brought this team together with its supporters.  You got rid of the team’s dead weight during the season! Were you the most illustrious choice for manager? No. Were you the right choice? Absolutely. In Petke We Trust. Vamos Red Bulls! Let’s go for that MLS Cup, ‘cuz now they’ll give it to us on our front porch.

That’s longtime kitman Fernando Ruiz & his son lifting the Shield. We are one team.