Metro dominates, survives Cincinnati in opener, 3:2
March 1, 2020

New York Cincinnati
Romero Gamarra
03.01.20 · League

After an offseason of nothingness, Metro entered 2020 with the lowest expectations in a decade. How can one expect to succeed when every team in the league has improved, but not yours?

Well, some teams might have improved, but clearly not enough. Such was the case with opening day opponent Cincinnati, an utter failure in their inaugural season. Metro started the day by dominating their hapless visitors, before hanging on for a 3:2 victory in a game that was not as close as the final scoreline.

The new season ushered in a 4-4-2 formation, with an injury to Ryan Meara making Chris Armas' decision in goal easier, as David Jensen made his debut. Aaron Long was held out as a precaution, as the defense saw draft pick Patrick Seagrist, Amro Tarek, Tim Parker, and Kyle Duncan. New captain Sean Davis was joined in the midfield by Cristian Casseres, Florian Valot, and Alejandro Romero Gamarra. Daniel Royer and Brian White started up front.

Metro put on a clinic in the first half, turning on the press and suffocating Cincinnati. After Duncan missed an easy chance wide, he made up for it in the 16th. Royer fed Valot in the middle of the field; the Frenchman spun around and unloaded to a wide-open Duncan, who beat the onrushing keeper. The defender became the 25th different player to score the first goal of the regular season in the team's 25 years.

11 minutes later, Metro struck again. This time, Duncan found Valot on the right, who centered it to Romero Gamarra. Kaku's sublime sidefoot from the top of the box made it 2:0. Unfortunately, he put a knock late in the half and had to be removed early in the second.

If Metro was confident going into the half, that feeling dissipated immediately. Less than a minute in, a Cincy player got the ball on the left flank with no Metro defender in sight. The ball was centered to Allan Cruz, who converted past Jensen.

And then, Armas turned off the press, almost welcoming Cincinnati to come back further. It was now the visitors dictating the match, with Metro sitting back and absorbing. This lasted until the 70th, when Duncan fed Royer, who took it into the box, through defenders, and slammed the ball into the net. With his goal and two assists, Duncan matched last season's total in one game.

It looked over, but then it suddenly wasn't. In the 83rd, Casseres turned the ball over, Parker fell down, and Jurgen Locadia was sent on a breakaway against Jensen. The Dane made a fantastic save, only for the ball to drop behind him, with Locadia walking in to make it 3:2.

Cincinnati didn't threaten much the rest of the way, and Metro ran out the clock. With three straight road games coming up, the three points in the opener were a must. The dominance, even coming against a terrible team, was encouraging. The defensive lapses were obviously not.

The new jerseys were nice.

Lineup: Jensen, Seagrist, Tarek, Parker, Duncan, Casseres, Davis, Valot, Romero Gamarra, Royer, White. Subs: Sims, Barlow, Rzatkowski.

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