Hellish minute wrecks season opener, 2:1
April 17, 2021
What seemed like the longest offseason in history. A preseason shrouded in secrecy. An expensive coach finally in charge of a regular season game. Various imports of vague pedigrees. What will the season opener bring?
It brought hope... and then misery, as Metro played well and went up on a terrific goal by Caden Clark, only to give up two goals in a span of a single minute to lose to Kansas City, 2:1.
All the preseason secrecy led to a 4-4-2 lineup with Carlos Coronel in goal, Andrew Gutman, Aaron Long, Sean Nealis, and Kyle Duncan across the back, Sean Davis, Youba Diarra, Cristian Casseres, and Clark in midfield, with Brian White and Fabio up front.
Gerhard Struber's vaunted pressure was clearly obvious in the first half. Metro was chasing every ball, and the quick movements and sharp passing were a long way from the Chris Armas days. Alas, just like that era, shots on goal were hard to come by. Metro's best chance of the half came off a set piece, when Long centering it with a header, only for no one to connect.
The breakthrough came three minutes after the break. Off a corner kick, on a play very similar to his debut goal, the ball dropped to Clark at the top of the box. The youngest lobbed it over the defense and into the top of the net, becoming the 26th player to score the team's first league goal in its 26 seasons. And all was great...
Until it wasn't. Kansas City spurred to life and launched attack after attack. Ten minutes after the goal, it looked like the levies would finally break. First, Coronel made a terrific save on a point-blank shot by reaching out to swipe the ball off the ground. But the lead only stood until the 59th, when Gutman, who was probably the team's best player up to that point, shutting down everything on the left flank, inexcusably stretched out his arms in the box. It was clear a handball as any, and KC converted from the spot to tie the game.
Less a minute later, the grabbed the lead when a cross went through the entire Metro defense. Duncan was caught sleeping at the far post, and an easy goalmouth conversion made it 2:1.
There would be no heroes tonight. The insertion of Tom Barlow did little to disprove his uselessness in front of the goal. Daniel Royer did Daniel Royer things, but had little support, and youngster Wikelman Carmona got a surprise run-out with minimal effect. Alas, the Kansas City defense made penetration impossible, and Metro ended its 26th opener with a loss.
Hope and misery... The cast of characters might change, but that sounds about right.
Lineup: Coronel, Gutman, Long, Nealis, Duncan, Davis, Diarra, Casseres, Clark, White, Fabio. Subs: Valot, Barlow, Royer, Carmona.