Fire, rain, ref can't stop road warriors, 2:1
April 30, 2022
An hour-long delay for lightning. Ridiculous refereeing. Two red cards. Two penalties. Giant water puddles. A Gerhard Struber comeback victory. This game had everything... wait, what? A Gerhard Struber comeback victory?
Apparently, not in his previous stops in Austria and England, was Struber able to win a game his team was trailing. He definitely hadn't done so with Metro... until today. Metro battled the elements, the referee, and the Fire to win 2:1 on two second-half goals by Patryk Klimala... wait, what? Two goals by Patryk Klimala?
Struber elected to go with the same 11 as started against Orlando, but pushed Lewis Morgan further upfield. It took barely a minute for Carlos Coronel to face a bigger challenge than he did all of last week, as the goalkeeper came up with a big save early.
The barrage of ridiculous calls came one after the other. The penalty came in the 17th minute, as Ashley Fletcher was judged to handle the ball in the box off a Chicago set piece, even though his arms were tucked in. Xherdan Shaquiri converted. A minute later, Tom Edwards got on the back of a Lewis Morgan free kick to even the scoring with what should have been his first career goal... except it wasn't, as VAR ridiculously called it back for offside on Aaron Long, who was not involved in the play. A few minutes later, there was a ball deflected off a Chicago arm in the box straight to the goalkeeper... but this time, no penalty was called.
Two minutes into first half injury time, lightning struck. Literal lightning, that is, as teams were escorted off the field to wait out an hour. When play resumed, Chicago decided that a one-goal lead was enough, and allowed Metro to attack in waves among the swamp-like puddles. If Metro was not known to break down bunkering opponents in good weather, how could they tonight?
It sure didn't look like they would when Luquinhas put Tom Barlow through on goal, but the "Big, Strong, Fast" striker failed to get through the five-hole. But then, in the 75, it was Luquinhas again. The Brazilian danced through the right side of the field, and centered the ball to an unmarked Klimala. The much-maligned Pole did not have to think, just one-time it into the net.
And then, the cards came. Befuddled referee Jon Freemon sent off not one, but two Chicago players for second yellows. So now, Metro was up two men with seven regulation minutes left.
With no regulation minutes left, Freemon went to the VAR machine again, and after taking his sweet time, pointed to the spot. Klimala, who was brought down at the edge of the box, stepped up, waited for the Fire keeper to commit, and tapped it in.
There was another VAR check, deep in injury time, for a potential Metro handball, but Metro ended up escaping. They are now 5-0-0 on the road, the second team ever in MLS history to do so, after the 1998 LA Galaxy.
Lineup: Coronel, Tolkin, Long, Nealis, Edwards, Morgan, Amaya, Casseres, Fernandez, Luquinhas, Fletcher. Subs: Klimala, Barlow, Nealis, Yearwood.