Feeble Metro allows Crew to draw at the death, 1:1
March 20, 2022
The era of good feelings is over. The two road wins and the barrage of goals that came with them seem like a lifetime ago. Yes, the headline says that Metro blew a lead, but the real story is that they actually got a lead in the first place, scoring on their only good chance of the game to go up on Columbus late. It was all for naught, as the Crew came back deep in injury time to even the match at 1:1.
Gerhard Struber decided to keep the lineup the same, but the offense we saw in the previous matches was non-existent. Metro struggled to create anything in the attacking third, as Columbus welcomed them to come and attack them. They simply couldn't from the run of play. The only decent opportunity of the first half came from a free kick that was redirected by Aaron Long, but saved.
Columbus was the better team in the second, with two fantastic opportunities to open the scoring. First, Gyasi Zardes missed a wide-open net from close range. Later, ex-Metro Derrick Etienne was thwarted by Carlos Coronel on a breakaway, then missed the follow-up.
The surprising breakthrough came in the 84th from a corner kick. Sean Nealis kept the ball alive and Long ping-ponged it on goal, off a Columbus player and into the net. There was some confusion about the scoring, but it was first awarded an own goal to Crew keeper Eloy Room, and then to "Big, Strong, Fast" Tom Barlow, who somehow touched the ball before going in.
And that should have been it, except Struber decided to give Ashley Fletcher a run-out three minutes into injury time. The English striker got the ball deep, lost it, and Columbus went the other way. Eventually, Darlington Nagbe knocked in a deflected cross from close range, and the whistle blew immediately after.
We now stare at a two-weak break as Long goes off to help the United States qualify for the World Cup. Let's hope for the return of the era of good feelings...
Lineup: Coronel, Tolkin, Long, Nealis, Edwards, Nealis, Amaya, Yearwood, Morgan, Fernandez, Klimala. Subs: Casseres, Barlow, Luquinhas, Fletcher.