Metro fails to gain advantage on Vancouver, 1:1
February 22, 2017
Stop us if you heard this one: playing at home in a quarterfinal against a Canadian team, down 1:0 on aggregate, a penalty kick is called. Sacha Kljestan steps up which the chance to tie it up... and the shot is easily saved.
As we enter the 22nd Metro season, it's understandable that history often repeats itself. Of course, the above scenario happened in the last competitive match, when Metro fell in the playoffs. Today, 2017 opened with a 1:1 tie against Vancouver in the CONCACAF Champions League. At least it wasn't a complete carbon copy of the Montreal debacle.
The season-opening lineup saw Luis Robles in goal, Justin Bilyeu, Aaron Long, Aurelien Collin, and Sal Zizzo across the back, Felipe, Sean Davis, Sacha Kljestan and Daniel Royer in midfield, with Gonzalo Veron supporting Bradley Wright-Phillips in the resurrected 4-2-2-2 formation.
Metro started strong, and had the best chances of the early first half, punctuating with a Royer header just missing high from point-blank range. The Austrian had a fantastic outing throughout, dashing through defenders and moving the ball with ease.
Metro's early dominance went for naught in the 39th, when a Vancouver corner kick was redirected and then headed in by Kekuta Manteh. Bilyeu looked to have his man covered, but was muscled off.
Two minutes into the second half, Royer was pushed down in the box, and Kljestan hit the penalty softly down the middle. David Ousted dove, but the ball hit his legs anyway. Thankfully for Metro, in the 62nd, Wright-Phillips finally got some service, and one-timed a scorcher into the top of net.
Vancouver's Cristian Techera got a straight red in the 70th for attempting to connect with Zizzo's groin, but Metro couldn't capitalize on the man advantage. They now head into Canada knowing that a least a goal is needed to advance... gotta practice those penalties, right?
Lineup: Robles, Bilyeu, Long, Collin, Zizzo, Martins, Davis, Kljestan, Royer, Veron, Wright-Phillips. Subs: Etienne, Grella.