2:0 win over Charlotte earns home playoff game
October 9, 2022
Well, that was somewhat anticlimactic. Knowing that a win would guarantee a home playoff spot, Metro did just that, beating expansion Charlotte 2:0. Elias Manoel scored his first two Metro goals. Yes, Elias Manoel. Go figure!
Of course, we're calling this anticlimactic because of results elsewhere. The only way Metro could have dropped to the non-home 5th slot was for Miami to beat Montreal (and for Metro not to beat Charlotte), and that simply wasn't happening. Montreal was up 2:0 after eight minutes, 3:0 at the half, on their way to an easy 3:1 win. So Metro's result became academic. They would finish fourth regardless of this game's outcome.
Well, the outcome was a win, but it wasn't exactly easy. Carlos Coronel had one of his best games of the year, denying Charlotte multiple times. He was especially key in the first half, as Metro clung to an early lead due to Manoel. Yes, Manoel! He scored the opener in the eighth minute, pouncing on a rebound off a long Lewis Morgan shot to convert from an acute angle.
Manoel's second came in the 55th after some great individual work. He received the ball outside the box, shielded it to center, then took a fantastically-placed shot into the net. The game turned into a snooze fest from there, with the only remaining mystery becoming Tom Barlow's quest for perfect attendance... which he couldn't achieve, as Gerhard Struber somehow held out the "Big, Strong, Fast" striker for the first time all year.
So, now it's the first home playoff game since the famed 2018 season, the be played against Cincinnati. At least it looks like Metro found a starting striker... Yes, Elias Manoel!?
Lineup: Coronel, Tolkin, Long, Nealis, Reyes, Nealis, Edelman, Amaya, Morgan, Luquinhas, Manoel. Subs: Klimala, Carmona, Duncan, Ndam.