Metro swallowed by Orlando's Lions, 1:0
April 9, 2017
When the nicest thing you can say about your team's offense is "they looked kinda dangerous a few times", your season is probably in trouble. Indeed, unlike the past few years this Metro side seems challenged to score at will, and once again it cost them in a 1:0 loss at Orlando City. It was a deserved result with the hosts looking the more dangerous side throughout, and if not for the heroics of Luis Robles, the margin could have easily been two or three.
With the exception of Sal Zizzo returning for the ailing Connor Lade, Jesse Marsch trotted out the same exact lineup that was trounced by Houston the week prior; the result this time was not much of an improvement.
Metro threatened the home goal twice early in the opening stanza through Bradley Wright-Phillips, one ball parried away by Joe Bendik, the second cleared just ahead off the line by Johnathan Spector. As the half wore on and the game settled down, Orlando looked the more likely side to score, at one point forcing a fantastic fingertip save from Robles. The home side's breakthrough came in the 34th minute. A blistering corner from longtime Jason Kreis cabana boy Will Johnson found the head of Servando Carrasco, who easily shrugged off the mark of young Tyler Adams in front of goal.
The second half was more of the same, and in the 67th minute Orlando nearly doubled their lead when Zizzo foolishly went to ground against Cyle Larin, the Canadian striker leaving the beleaguered fullback on the turf to go one-on-one against Robles. The Metro keeper stood tall once again, fully extending to deflect Larin's shot and preserving the one goal deficit.
Unfortunately Robles's heroics were for naught, as other than a pair of headers from Aurelien Collin -- the Frenchman finally looked himself for the first time in this campaign -- and a nice narrow angle shot from Wright-Phillips, Metro could muster no further assault against Orlando. Once again, the sputtering midfield offered little assistance in attack, leaving set pieces as the primary offensive threat.
Unfortunately there seems little Marsch can do about what ails this team. Due to the (lack of) roster options available, benching struggling players means replacing one inconsistent academy product with another. When Marsch looks to his bench down a goal and produces Alex Muyl, a defensive-minded player who has been absolutely putrid this year, there is little hope that the team's fortunes will improve with a lineup change.
Hopefully Marsch has a trick up his sleeve this weekend against the Scum, a match that opens a desperately needed three-game homestand. The Princeton alum has earned enough patience over the last two seasons to see how he approaches this critical stretch before his seat begins to heat up...
Lineup: Robles, Lawrence, Long, Collin, Zizzo, Adams, Martins, Kljestan, Royer, Etienne, Wright-Phillips. Subs: Muyl, Gulbrandsen.