Metro fills quota early, earns playoff berth, 1:1
November 7, 2021
Of course, it was not gonna be easy. Less than a minute into the game, up a goal, needing a tie to advance? Not this year. Not this team.
At the end, it wasn't easy, but it was just enough. Metro clawed to a 1:1 tie at Nashville to earn the Eastern Conference's last playoff berth, topping DC Scum by a solitary point. Considering where we were a month and a half ago, it's a remarkable achievement.
The quota was filled just 35 seconds into the match. Caden Clark fed Cristian Casseres on the right flank, who sent a perfect cross into the box, where it landed with Fabio. The Brazilian, who was starting as the lone striker due to Patryk Klimala's idiotic suspension, took a fantastic touch to control it, and put it in.
Fabio figured in the Nashville goal as well. In the the 37th minute, a rather lame foul was called on Andres Reyes on the right side of the Metro penalty area. Hany Mukhtar sent in the short free kick directly on goal, where Metro had no one at the near post. Fabio's minute touch was enough to tuck into the upper corner. It wasn't counted as an own goal, however.
In Toronto, DC took a 3:1 lead into halftime, so if that scoreline held, Metro knew that they had not to lose. Thankfully, Gerhard Struber did not park the bus, and Fabio showed his worst side by missing an easy shot wide. Second-half sub Omir Fernandez hit the woodwork with a bending shot after a nice run.
There were multiple testy moments on the other end. Minutes before the end of regular time, Nashville looked to have an open shot from close range, but Carlos Coronel made the absolutely right decision to disrupt the play, saving the team's year. The goalkeeper, who has come a long way from early season calamities, and the ever-steady Sean Davis, who managed to avoid yellow card suspension time and again, ended up playing every minute of the regular season.
After all the Eastern games finished, Metro's opponent became known: Philadelphia. Unfortunately, the Worms have had their number the last three years, but who knows?
Anything is possible in MLS, but we're obviously not getting our hopes us. Not this year. Not this team.
Lineup: Coronel, Gutman, Nealis, Reyes, Edwards, Tolkin, Davis, Yearwood, Casseres, Clark, Fabio. Subs: Duncan, Fernandez, Diarra, Barlow.