Damaged Metro can't stop dam breakage, 2:0
June 26, 2022
Coming off the fantastic midweek Open Cup result, we could understand a letdown. A cross-country trip to play in the hot California sun against a western juggernaut...
And then, it got worse, with news that Metro's two most important players, Aaron Long and Luquinhas, had to miss the game due to a positive COVID test, meaning Gerhard Struber had to start a makeshift defense with Dylan Nealis as a left center back and Lewis Morgan as a right wingback...
And then, having to survive an LAFC attack after attack, to fight it off bravely time and again, with Carlos Coronel making timely save when needed, with Cristian Casseres getting to every ball in midfield, with a consolation point looking rather probable on the horizon...
And then, the dam broke. In the 67th minute, LAFC's Cristian Arango beat the offside trap and was off to the races, beating Coronel on a breakaway. Less than three minutes later, a rare defensive mishap by Metro saw the home side double the scoring. But LAFC didn't need that second goal... because Metro was not scoring today.
Obviously, missing Luquinhas and having Morgan play in a more defensive position hurt, but it's not like Metro did not have any chances. It's what they did with those opportunities that cried incompetence. In the first half, Tom Barlow did well to get into the box, but the "Big, Strong, Fast" striker than reverted to his usual self and completely destroyed the play. Later in the period, it was Patryk Klimala's turn. The Pole fought his way into the penalty area, and had a wide-open Omir Fernandez in the center. Instead, he decided to pass it to a covered Barlow, and we all know how that ends.
Metro's best chance of the second half came when Zach Ryan hit the post late in the period, but by then, the game was decided. Heck, one can say it was decided from the get-go. How can Metro be expected to compete with the likes of LAFC when they bring Arango off the bench (and have more reinforcements in the pipeline), while we start Klimala and Barlow?
The letdown is of Metro's own making.
Lineup: Coronel, Tolkin, Nealis, Nealis, Edwards, Morgan, Amaya, Casseres, Fernandez, Barlow, Klimala. Subs: Yearwood, Harper, Ryan, Ngoma.