Magical Morgan marshals Metro through Toronto, 4:1
March 5, 2022
We gotta be honest with you: we were dreading the start of the season, and the obvious holes left on the roster did not exactly instill hope. Gerhard Struber himself agreed, and Kevin Thelwell's cowardly departure did not not exactly raise the level of confidence.
And yet, so far, so good, as Metro won its second straight road game to open the season, dominating Toronto 4:1. Offseason acquisition Lewis Morgan led the way with a brilliant hat-trick, Metro's first since Bradley Wright-Phillips in 2018.
With Cristian Casseres injured, Struber switched to a 4-4-2. Dylan Nealis slotted to right back, Morgan was pushed into midfield, and "Big, Strong, Fast" Tom Barlow started up front.
The goals started in the 17th, as Frankie Amaya stole the ball in midfield. He blew past Michael Bradley, then found Patryk Klimala on the right. The Pole one-touched it back to the middle and Morgan, who bent the shot into the upper right corner. Seven minutes later, Omir Fernandez sent a through ball to Klimala, who had Morgan wide open on his left. Klimala miss-hit the ball, but it ended with Morgan anyway. This time, the Scotsman hit it low from outside the box into the lower right corner.
Toronto got one back in the 35th, when Jesus Jimenez danced through the Metro defense to bury one. Just five minutes later, off a Toronto corner kick, Barlow won the ball and sent it forward. Klimala fought off a defender in midfield and sent Morgan on a breakaway that the Scotsman coolly converted. Two minutes after that, an Amaya free kick was headed home by Aaron Long to complete an astonishing half with a 4:1 lead.
That was it for the goals, but Metro had their share of chances in the second as well. Morgan actually found the back of the net once again, but was called offside by a hair. Toronto rarely threatened, unless you count a disgusting two-footed tackle by Carlos Salcedo on Klimala a threat. He got away with a yellow after a lengthy review.
Klimala's three assists tied a long-standing team record. Zach Ryan made his first-team debut as a late-game sub. After scoring more than two just once all of 2021, Metro has already done so twice in 2022's first two games.
Does this sound like hope? What do you think, Mr. Struber?
Lineup: Coronel, Tolkin, Long, Nealis, Nealis, Amaya, Yearwood, Morgan, Fernandez, Barlow, Klimala. Subs: Edwards, Clark, Ngoma, Edelman, Ryan.