Metro takes Open Cup seriously, loses on PKs
July 21, 2015

New York (3:4) Philadelphia
Sam Ayuk
07.21.15 · Open Cup

And here you thought Metro couldn't come up with a new way to lose games... Up a man for over 80 minutes, complete domination everywhere but on the scoreboard, a last-second comeback, and then excruciating penalty kicks... oh, those penalty kicks.

But we'll get to the penalty kicks. First things first: on a scorching afternoon, Jesse Marsch fielded a first-choice lineup in the Open Cup. The only change from the weekend was the move of Bradley Wright-Phillips to left midfield and inserting Anatole Abang for Mike Grella.

Metro started to dominate immediately off the kickoff, with numerous chances that could not be converted. It looked that they would get the upper hand in the 40th minute, when the Conor Casey took down a man half his size, Connor Lade. Apparently, the Philly oaf was upset that he was taken to school by the diminutive defender.

Metro's onslaught continued, but it was the Worms that scored against the run of play. In the 56th minute, Eric Ayuk was setup in front of the Metro net, and just like that, the visitors were up.

It looked to end in regulation, as Metro threw all but the kitchen sink at the Worms, but just couldn't connect for the final shot. The entirety of the rest of the half was played in the Philly end, but Metro just couldn't break through. Until four minutes into injury time, that is, when Grella found Sam in the box, and the Englishman sent in a miraculous equalizer.

But there was still overtime to be played, and once again, it all took place in the Philly half. The visitors bunkered, praying for penalty kicks. Metro probed, with substitute Manolo Sanchez hitting the woodwork. Wright-Phillips' supposed winner with seconds left was called back for offside.

So, now the penalties. Oh, those penalties. For only the second time in their history, Metro's Open Cup fate was to be decided by kicks from the spot. Back in 2000, they topped Columbus in the quarterfinal. At the same stage this year, it was not to be.

Wright-Phillips opened by hitting the crossbar. Philly scored. McCarty coolly converted to his left. Philly scored. Grella chipped down the middle. Philly scored. And then it was up to Sam.

The Englishman's shot to his right was touched by the Worm keeper, but drifted over the goalline, where it was grabbed. Mere millimeters and the assistant referee's eyes kept the game from being level.

Luis Robles made a fantastic save to keep Philly from advancing, and when Sacha Kljestan made his shot, Metro suddenly had a chance. Alas, the Worms last shooter did not miss, and that was that.

At least, Metro took the Open Cup seriously...

Lineup: Robles, Wallace, Perrinelle, Miazga, Lade, McCarty, Martins, Kljestan, Sam, Wright-Phillips, Abang. Subs: Grella, Zizzo, Sanchez. Shootout: Wright-Phillips, McCarty, Grella, Sam, Kljestan.

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