10-man Metro holds the Wiz in KC, 1:0
July 3, 2022
Just three days after a miraculous comeback victory, Metro played a game of a different kind. That is also ended in victory is a testament to the team and its coach -- as they started sloppily, adjusted, grabbed a lead, and hanged out with 10 men for a 1:0 draw in Kansas City.
With Tom Edwards injured, Gerhard Struber elected to go to four in the back, but that didn't last long. For the first 25 minutes, Kansas City had a field day running up and down the right flank, so Struber made an early tactical substitution, taking out Omir Fernandez for Cameron Harper. And just like that, the game stabilized... but not before a 30-minute lightning delay interrupted the proceedings.
Metro actually put one in the net late in the first off a couple off miss-hit balls on a free kick, but Harper's tally was correctly called back for offside. The first minutes after the break were frantic on both ends. First, Cristian Casseres and Luquinhas played a fantastic give-and-go in the box, only for the unmarked Venezuelan to completely misfire. Then, Kansas City got a breakaway that looked destined to score, only for the improving Dylan Nealis to track back, get a late touch on the ball, with Carlos Coronel reaching from the ground to deflect it out.
The lone goal of the game came in the 53rd off a short corner. Lewis Morgan sent the ball into the box, where Aaron Long rose above the KC defenders to put it in. A lengthy VAR review judged that there was no offside on the play, and we moved on.
It was not the last time VAR would be in play tonight, as in the 73rd, a Sean Nealis handball just outside the box was deemed a red. (VAR was supposed to be "clear and obvious", but the referee spent a good two minutes at the monitor.) It was the first time the defensive stalwart would miss any minutes all season.
With all sub windows already used, Metro held on for dear life, and the makeshift defense was firm. The home side's best chance came in injury time. With Patryk Klimala on the sideline after some playacting shenanigans, John Tolkin cleared a corner kick off the line, and that was pretty much that.
So, a terrific two-win week which takes Metro top of the East. Could Metro be returning to KC for an even more important game in a couple of months for a game of even greater importance? We'll find out soon enough...
Lineup: Coronel, Tolkin, Long, Nealis, Nealis, Amaya, Casseres, Morgan, Fernandez, Luquinhas, Barlow. Subs: Harper, Klimala, Ngoma.