Metro survives Open Cup on PKs
June 28, 2017

New York (5:3) Philadelphia
Kljestan Alberg
06.28.17 · Open Cup

Usually, when Metro advances in the knockout tournament, we're giddy. Oh, it doesn't happen too often, so we gotta take all the opportunities we can get. Tonight... well, fine, we're somewhat giddy, for a Ryan Meara save -- the only one in the penalty shootout -- advanced Metro to the quarterfinals of the Open Cup. That being said...

That being said, it started out pretty well. A newly-minted 5-4-1 with Kemar Lawrence and Sal Zizzo as flying(?) wingbacks. Even an early injury to Aurelien Collin (we are gonna sign a central defender, right?) didn't dampen the fact that Metro dominated the first half. (Other than the Meara stop on a Fafa Picault breakaway. That name will come up later.)

That dominance got Metro a well-earned goal in the 42nd after some so-rarely-seen-this-year crisp passing around the penalty area. It was Lawrence to Sean Davis to Bradley Wright-Phillips, who spun around inside the box, and laid it off to a wide-open Sacha Kljestan. The captain easily converted, and Metro was up.

Metro continued to control the game into the second half, but Philly started to get their chances, only to be denied by Meara and the woodwork. Then, in the 77th minute, Aaron Long limped off the field (we are gonna sign a central defender, right?) and all hell broke loose.

We're gonna dismiss the fact that Roland Alberg's 80th minute equalizer was offside; it clearly was. That's not the point. From Long's injury on, through the end of regulation, to 30 minutes of injury time, Metro was futile. The once-feeble Worms mounted attack after attack, thwarted by only Meara or their incompetence. Metro was back to not being able to string three passes together. To say they limped into the shootout was an understatement.

But then, just as we were ready to lament our supposed penalty kick awfulness, the shots started to ring in. Zizzo(!) -- Philly answered. Gonzalo Veron(!!) -- Philly answered. Daniel Royer -- Meara saved Picault's shot, tipping it off the woodwork and out. Kljestan, after all his PK misery, but not this time -- Philly answered, and then Felipe -- Philly was done.

So, Metro escaped by the skin of their teeth, but really needs to look at itself in the mirror and ponder the ineptitude that we continue to see. And, we are gonna sign a central defender, right?

Lineup: Meara, Lawrence, Perrinelle, Collin, Long, Zizzo, Adams, Martins, Davis, Kljestan, Wright-Phillips. Subs: Lade, Royer, Veron.

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