Rotated Metro survives Austin, 4:3
July 24, 2022

Austin New York
Driussi 2
07.24.22 · League

So, there is a little game coming up in three short days... you might have heard. So we would have been perfectly fine with a drab match, a game that nobody would remember the day after it happens. (Just as long as nobody gets injured.) Instead, we got a crazy, back-and-forth game as a heavily-rotated Metro team came into Austin, bullied the hosts, then held on for a frantic 4:3 victory.

With the Open Cup on his mind, Gerhard Struber elected to rotate much of the lineup from the midfield on up, including giving first league starts to Daniel Edelman and Serge Ngoma. The moves paid off, as 14 minutes in (after Metro already had two goals called back for offside), John Tolkin fed Ngoma off a turnover. The youngster took a shot from outside the box that looked to be easily handled by Austin keeper Andrew Tarbell... only for it to go through his hands and into the net. Alas, Ngoma, who was incredibly lively up to that point, pulled a hamstring at the half hour, and had to be removed.

In the 26th minute, the lead was doubled. Again, it came off a turnover, and the ball made its away to Patryk Klimala. His shot was saved, but Caden Clark's press made sure that the home side couldn't clear it. Instead, Dru Yearwood pounced on it, took it centrally, and slammed it home from the top of the box.

Austin got back in the game in the 45th, as Metro couldn't clear a corner kick. Sebastian Driussi's shot went through the entire box, somehow eluding dozens of feet, to set the score at 2:1.

Five minutes after the break, Metro got at it again. This time, Yearwood played provider, setting up Cameron Harper. The youngster cut in the box, causing the Austin defender to fall down, and banged in his second of the season. And then, in the 65th, Clark caused a turnover, and Harper beautifully flicked the ball to on onrushing Tom Barlow. The "Big, Strong, Fast" striker let the ball bounce in the box, before slamming home the volley.

So, up 4:1 should have been easy for a team that rarely leaks goals? Not so. Five minutes after the Barlow goal, a fantastic long blast from Driussi pierce the net behind Carlos Coronel. (This is what happens when you spend money on a real striker.) Then, in the 81st, an acrobatic redirection of a cross saw it fall to an unmarked Ethan Finley, who made it 4:3. And then, and then...

And then Coronel came up huge, saving a point-blank header off a corner that looked surely to break Metro's hearts. Austin didn't let on, pushing the rest of the way, as Metro, so lithe early on, withered in the oppressive heat. Somehow, they held on, and seven goals was all she wrote tonight.

So much for a game no one would remember...

Lineup: Coronel, Tolkin, Long, Nealis, Edwards, Edelman, Yearwood, Clark, Ngoma, Fernandez, Klimala. Subs: Harper, Nealis, Barlow, Casseres, Luquinhas.

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