Metro blacked out in Foxboro, 1:0
April 20, 2019
Why do we even bother watching away games in Foxborough at this point? In a match as dull and dour as the cloudy New England skies, exactly 23 years after Nicola Caricola tallied his infamous own goal, Metro suffered a 23rd defeat in its personal house of horrors. The game looked headed for a scoreless draw until Luis Robles uncharacteristically let a Cristian Penilla shot past in the 73rd minute. Who says the Curse of Caricola has been vanquished?
Rain soaked Gillette Stadium's carpet throughout, but the impression both sides gave was that goals would have been hard to come by even if conditions were ideal. Kaku's incomprehensible red card meant Vincent Bezecourt took his place in the midfield; for as much as the Frenchman offered, Chris Armas might as well have inserted a black hole instead.
The only entertaining event of the first half was Marc Rzatkowski trapping a bounding cross off his right thigh directly onto his left foot... before volleying directly at Revs keeper Cody Cropper. The midfielder's inability to find the wide open back post summarized Metro's offensive effort on the day.
The much-ballyhooed defense has certainly been poor thus far (although Connor Lade had a nice bounce-back game tonight) but the simple fact is that even if they were performing to last season's level, without Kaku's presence Metro is completely incapable of mustering any sort of attacking threat. Perhaps the great Bradley Wright-Phillips has finally lost a step, but there's no way to tell with how thoroughly he has been abandoned in the Argentine's absence. It's becoming clear that this team will only go as far as their mercurial midfielder can take them.
Until his return, it looks like Metro will continue their free fall. As the first quarter of the season comes to a close, the Eastern Conference cellar beckons. Is this the dreaded transition year we've feared coming for a while, or can Armas manufacture some offense without the services of his most important player?
Lineup: Robles, Lade, Long, Parker, Murillo, Davis, Casseres, Rzatkowski, Bezecourt, Royer, Wright-Phillips. Subs: Fernandez, Etienne, Ivan.