Metro can't match Galaxy's star, 3:2
April 25, 2021

Los Angeles New York
Hernandez 3 Gutman
04.25.21 · League

Back in 2011, when Metro played the Galaxy, we called it "the most expensive game in MLS history". The costly stars on both sides of the field: Titi Henry, Rafa Marquez (obviously, anything but a star for us, but definitely costly), David Beckham, Landon Donovan... It really set the tone for the upcoming decade in MLS.

The fortunes of the both clubs have changed in the ten years since. Once two of the most ambitious clubs in the league, they now found themselves looking up on multiple newcomers. For Metro, it's a change in a philosophy that led to two Supporters Shields after the one won on the back of Henry, but not paling when compared to its peak under Jesse Marsch. For the Galaxy, it has recently sent them into almost-irrelevance.

In an attempt to climb out of that predicament, LA has tried to -- what else -- sign a costly star. First it was Zlatan, and now Chicharito Hernandez, the Mexican once-wunderkind who scored all of two goals in his debut MLS season. Unfortunately for Metro, he did one better tonight, tallying all three in his side's 3:2 victory.

Gerhard Struber decided to change the formation after one game, switching to a 3-5-2, with Andrew Gutman and Florian Valot manning the wings. Amro Tarek came in as the third center back. Youba Diarra, who had spent the majority of his pre-Metro career injured, continued the trend.

LA broke through nine minutes in, after Valot held on to the ball too long in midfield. He ended up losing it, as the Galaxy rushed the other way. Tarek failed to track back, and Hernandez got at the end of a deflected shot at the back post.

Metro evened the scoring in the 26th, with Gutman starting and ending the play. First he won the ball on the left flank and moved it forward. Brian White walked it into the box, had it deflect off a defender and luckily bounce back to him. He then found Gutman, who slotted it into the net for his first goal as a Metro.

In the 41st, LA got the lead back. A ball over the top, a sleeping Sean Nealis, and another Chicharito finish made it look all too easy. At halftime, Struber pulled Nealis and Valot for Duncan and Dru Yearwood, the latter making his season debut after a preseason injury.

Cicharito's third came in the 60th, as a long cross-field pass was intercepted by LA. A Galaxy cross ended with a poor Aaron Long clearance that floated the ball at the back post. There, Hernandez went airborn to put another one past a dumbfounded Carlos Coronel.

Metro responded three minutes after off a free kick, when a bad touch in the penalty area by Tarek somehow turned good. Cristian Casseres flew through the bodies in the box to make it 3:2.

Metro had a lot of time to even this one, including eleven minutes of injury time, but, just like last week, failed to get many shots on goal. Former California youth teammates Cameron Harper and Frankie Amaya made their debuts and mostly impressed, especially Amaya. Deep in injury time, he went down in the box on what could have been called a penalty, but the referee signaled played on, and Metro ran out 3:2 losers.

Are they prepared for the new decade in MLS? It's hard to say in this point.

Lineup: Coronel, Gutman, Tarek, Long, Nealis, Valot, Davis, Casseres, Clark, White, Fabio. Subs: Yearwood, Duncan, Royer, Harper, Amaya.

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