Flaccid Metro falls in Charlotte, 2:0
June 11, 2022
A well-rested team playing an expansion side that just fired its coach... the same expansion side that Metro thoroughly ran through two and a half weeks ago... the expansion side that is missing some of its best attacking talent... This looked more than winnable, right?
Wrong. After coming out of the gates on fire, Metro eventually calmed down and sleepwalked through a 2:0 loss to Charlotte. Sure, Aaron Long missed the game due to his USA commitments, but the problem here was not his absence.
Well, not the whole problem, that is. As much as we love Tom Edwards' versatility, he is clearly not at his best when playing as one of two central defenders. Charlotte's first goal, in first half injury time, a long shot that took a slight deflection off the Englishman to get past Carlos Coronel, was not exactly his fault. But he wasn't necessarily helping, so much so that Gerhard Struber opted for a Nealis-Nealis pairing for most of the second. Also, not ideal.
Not ideal was Metro attack, with no connection with the midfield. With Luquinhas off his game, and Dru Yearwood sending hopeful through-balls to nowhere, nothing could be produced. Metro's best chance came off a collision of two Charlotte players in the first half that saw Lewis Morgan's eventual shot got saved. That is, until the 60th, when they were awarded a penalty.
Now, with Patryk Klimala, Metro already has a known diver. A diver so obvious that the Pole-who-cried-wolf label has been etched so strongly on him, that he will not get many calls, even when he was in the right. (And we saw some of that today.) But at the start of the second, Gerhard Struber inserted Ashley Fletcher in an attempt at a two-striker partnership. The Englishman's only contribution in his 45 minutes was a blatant dive.
So when VAR took the penalty kick away, a just decision, Metro was left with a half hour to create something... they couldn't. It was up to Coronel to make two big saves on one-on-one changes to keep the margin at one, but the Brazilian could not do anything in second half injury time as Charlotte converted an easy tap-in. And that was that.
If Metro doesn't figure out its probably at forward, "that was that" might become a continuing theme...
Lineup: Coronel, Tolkin, Nealis, Edwards, Nealis, Amaya, Yearwood, Morgan, Fernandez, Luquinhas, Klimala. Subs: Fletcher, Harper, Clark, Barlow.