Powerless Metro schooled by Columbus, 2:0
July 17, 2020
Zero. Zilch. Bupkis. For the first time in seven years, Metro failed to register a single shot on target in a MLS match. While the team performance in all phases could be described as odious, the offensive ineptitude on display was particularly putrid. The absent attack along with a porous midfield, compounded by a handful of critical errors from the previously reliable backline doomed Metro to a 2:0 defeat.
Apparently satisfied with his team's performance scraping by an Atlanta side that has yet to show up to the tournament, Chris Armas kept the starting lineup intact. In retrospect, it was the wrong decision as the entire side looked lethargic from the opening whistle.
After missing a wide-open header a few minutes earlier, Gyasi Zardes made Metro pay in the 22nd minute. A throw-in caught Aaron Long out of position, allowing Zardes to slip into the space the central defender should have occupied. A simple ball through from Pedro Santos provided the US international plenty of space to finish past David Jensen.
At the half hour mark, Metro reject Derrick Etienne Jr. was gifted a look on an open goal by Zardes, who had already juked Jensen to the ground. The "Haitian Messi" promptly hammered the ball into the side netting in a moment all too familiar to Metro supporters.
The former academy product would have his revenge in the second half, however. A failed clearance attempt by Amro Tarek bounded off Etienne's chest directly into his path. This time Etienne held up his run before dribbling into trouble and when Lucas Zelarayan presented himself as an option at the top of the box, the Haitian international fed him the ball for a one-time strike into the bottom corner of Jensen's net.
You can try to lay blame for Metro's performance on the oppressive midsummer humidity of Central Florida, or Armas' apparent unwillingness to rotate his squad, but that would be ignoring the most obvious culprit: Metro's steadfast refusal to appropriately address the forward position after the departure of all-time great Bradley Wright-Phillips. Tom Barlow has been an apparition in two games, leaving Daniel Royer and the midfield to carry the offensive burden. Even with Brian White returning to action, there isn't enough quality in the strike corps to see the team through a successful campaign.
Newly installed Head of Sport Kevin Thelwell better have a plan when the transfer window opens in August or this will be a very long summer indeed...
Lineup: Jensen, Pendant, Tarek, Long, Duncan, Casseres, Davis, Valot, Romero Gamarra, Royer, Barlow. Subs: Rzatkowski, White, Muyl, Fernandez, Stroud.