Metro backups easily tie Columbus, 1:1
March 2, 2019
With the Champions League quarterfinal coming up in three short days, Metro played a backup-heavy lineup in the league opener. With only three usual starters reporting for duty, Metro scored early and held on for a 1:1 tie with Columbus.
The starters were Luis Robles, Aaron Long, and Michael Murillo, the latter appearing because he is suspended for the next CONCACAF game. The backups were: Kyle Duncan (playing his first game ever at left back), Amro Tarek (making his Metro debut), Cristian Casseres, Vincent Bezecourt, Florian Valot, Andreas Ivan, Marcus Epps (making his Metro debut), and Omir Fernandez (making his MLS debut, and playing at forward).
Metro broke through just six minutes in, when a perfect Valot cross fell on Ivan's head, and he plopped the ball into the Columbus net. After looking mostly incompetent in his first half-season with Metro, the Romanian now suddenly has a scoring touch. He became the 24th different player in 24 league seasons to score Metro's first goal.
The equalizer came four minutes before halftime, off a corner kick. Murillo was pushing, pushing, pushing Gaston Sauro, to little effect, as the Crew defender got his head on the ball, squeezing it into the net.
Tim Parker came in for Long at the half, and Alex Muyl (who once again saved the ball off the endline, this time to earn a free kick) and Sean Nealis (making his MLS debut) looked to be scheduled substitutes early in the second half. Late in the period, Ivan looked to have tapped the go-ahead goal, but was judged to be offside.
The Crew tried to hack down Fernandez on every opportunity, but the youngster fared well in his first taste of MLS action. After Nealis entered the game, Chris Armas switched to five in the back, and the point was easily earned.
On to more important matters...
Lineup: Robles, Duncan, Long, Tarek, Murillo, Casseres, Bezecourt, Valot, Ivan, Epps, Fernandez. Subs: Parker, Muyl, Nealis.