Long and Parker stifle Revs on both ends, 1:0
October 28, 2020
If there is one big difference from how Metro played earlier this year, it's been its central defense. Chris Armas' firing seemed to inject new life into Tim Parker, who started the year in a prolonged slump and has since turned into an absolute marvel. And Aaron Long... well, Long is always good, but he finally looks like he is back to the form that made him MLS Defender of the Year just two years ago. (Oh, how long do these years seem!) Tonight, the duo was fantastic on both sides of the ball. They shut down New England attack after New England attack, them combined for the game's only goal, off a late corner kick.
Bradley Carnell made three changes from the weekend, as Marc Rzatkowski, Caden Clark, and Brian White came in for Dru Yearwood, Samuel Tetteh, and Tom Barlow. The first half was void of any dangerous chances for both sides. Parker and Long sniffed everything out time and again; on the other end, the Metro offense was its usual lifeless self.
The game opened up a bit in the second half, especially with Alejandro Romero Gamarra, finally back from quarantine, and Daniel Royer entering the match. The two combined for a shot that Kaku pulled just wide. Barlow, finally off the bench, had two golden breakaway chances of which neither ended with a shot.
For the fourth straight game, Metro waited late for a game-changing goal. This one came in the 89th, off a Romero Gamarra corner kick. Kaku sent it to Parker, who flicked it to Long, who blasted it into the net from the center of the box. With the goal, he became the highest-scoring defender in team history (nine in all competitions, eight in league play), passing Steve Jolley.
And that was it, with Metro easily seeing it through. The teams totaled just five shots on goal in the match... and the one that mattered came from a central defender.
The win put Metro on the verge of clinching a playoff berth, which was earned later in the evening after Dallas defeated Miami. While making the expanded playoffs might not be a huge accomplishment, considering how horribly it played earlier this year, we'll take it.
Lineup: Meara, Pendant, Long, Parker, Duncan, Davis, Valot, Stroud, Clark, Rzatkowski, White. Subs: Royer, Casseres, Romero Gamarra, Tetteh, Barlow.