Metro actually scores twice, blanks DC Scum
September 12, 2020
Three years ago, a change in formation signaled a shift in Metro's season. With the team leaking goals, Jesse Marsch shifted to a hybrid lineup with three central defenders and two outside backs. Three in the back? Five in the back? It didn't matter how you called it, but the season was saved. (Only to unravel in the playoffs, but what can you do.)
Tonight, Marsch's successor's successor, Bradley Carnell, made a similar surprising shift. With the team mired in one of the worst offensive slumps in its history (and doing borderline average defensively as well), he changed to the three central defender lineup... and it worked. Metro actually scored two goals for the first time since opening day, and played well defensively in beating the Scum 2:0. Carnell earned his first win as a head coach.
The lineup (3-5-2? 5-3-2?) had Aaron Long, Tim Parker, and Sean Nealis in the middle, with Jason Pendant and Kyle Duncan on the flanks. Dru Yearwood got his first start next to Cristian Casseres, with Alejandro Romero Gamarra, Daniel Royer, and Mathias Jorgensen rounding it out.
After a dreadful half an hour from both teams, Metro got in front in the 29th minute, finally executing a set piece. Romero Gamarra sent a perfect ball from a free kick, Long separated from his defender, and knocked home his first of the year. Metro got the cushion on the hour mark, when Royer took a Pendant cross and one-timed it from mid-air. It was a much-needed tally, his first since opening day.
On the other end, Ryan Meara made two huge saves late in the first half, first blocking a three-on-one breakaway which looked destined to score, then parrying the ensuing corner kick. Alas, he had to be taken out of the game in the 62nd, after suffering a non-contact injury. David Jensen completed the shutout, making one big save on a free kick blast.
So, should we be happy with this turnaround? In theory, yes. But let's not the scoreline fool you. The DC team was absolutely incompetent, and Metro still can't generate much going forward, looking listless for long periods of time. A positive result, sure, and a positive formation change, likely, but let's not pretend it's anything more than that.
Lineup: Meara, Pendant, Long, Parker, Nealis, Duncan, Casseres, Yearwood, Romero Gamarra, Royer, Jorgensen. Subs: Valot, Jensen, White, Mines, Stroud.