Metro puts Portland to bed, 2:0
September 19, 2019
Whenever Metro plays a late night west coast game, those of us who have to go to work the next morning always debate the need to watch the match. Considering that Metro was in the midst of a three-game losing streak and was playing a supposedly formidable opponent on the road, we thought it would make sense to call it an early night. And then Kyle Duncan scored early on, so we decided to hold on, and so did Metro, escaping Portland 2:0 winners.
With three games in a week, Chris Armas made wholesale changes. Kemar Lawrence, Tim Parker, Duncan, Alex Muyl, Josh Sims, and Tom Barlow all started. Rece Buckmaster, Amro Tarek, Michael Murillo, Alejandro Romero Gamarra, Daniel Royer, and Bradley Wright-Phillips did not.
Sims, playing on the left, proved to be a spark plug. Just three minutes into the game, he sent a bouncing cross into the box that found its way to Duncan. The defender slammed home his first MLS goal with a blistering shot. Minutes later, Metro almost got a second one, but Barlow's shot was cleared off the line.
Midway through the first half, a scramble in front of the Portland net off a free kick left the defense exposed. As the Timbers went the other way, Diego Chara was left alone against Luis Robles, but somehow hit the crossbar.
The defense, so leaky the past few weeks, was much improved, getting to every ball. The one slip-up came late in the second, when Lawrence tripped as a long ball reached Jeremy Ebobisse. One-on-one with Robles, the Portland attacker somehow shot wide. The hosts kept pressing, which led to a Duncan rush up the right flank in injury time. His cross to Marc Rzatkowski was whiffed by Jorge Moreira, who ended up taking down the German in the box. Royer slammed the penalty to the upper left.
So, the losing streak is over and Metro now looks on the verge of clinching a playoff berth. Who needs a good night's sleep?
Lineup: Robles, Lawrence, Long, Parker, Duncan, Davis, Casseres, Rzatkowski, Muyl, Sims, Barlow. Subs: Royer, Wright-Phillips, Nealis.