Lone shot on goal, a PK, dooms Metro in opener, 1:0
February 25, 2023
This year is supposed to be different... offensively, that is. Gone were the days when Metro couldn't finish! Hooray for the new two-forward formation! Hooray for newly-signed attacking talent! Hooray for... Tom Barlow?
Alas, there not that many hoorays today as Metro opened the season with a 1:0 loss to Orlando. And while the defense was as terrific as it has often been: the hosts placed only one shot on goal, a penalty, the offense left much to be desired. Of course, it's early, and, of course, Dante Vanzeir did not play yet, and, of course, there was Barlow.
Joining Barlow in the lineup were Carlos Coronel in goal, John Tolkin, Sean Nealis, Andres Reyes, and Cameron Harper on defense, Frankie Amaya, Cristian Casseres, Lewis Morgan, and Luquinhas in midfield, and Elias Manoel up front.
Through the first half and beyond, Metro dominated. Orlando rarely ventured into the attacking end, as the vaunted press caused turnover after turnover. Unfortunately, the Metro attack couldn't finish when given the chance. Manoel, shooting from short distance, pulled his shot just wide. Early in the second, a turnover led to Amaya walking into the box untouched, but he decided to pass it off instead of taking an uncontested shot.
Then, ten minutes after the break, a rare Orlando foray into the Metro penalty area saw the ball go off Nealis' body, and after that, bounce off his arm. Apparently, this is now considered a penalty, and a penalty it was. Coronel was beaten and Metro was down, completely against the run of play. It was Orlando's first and last shot on goal of the entire game, as the same old story reared its ugly head.
It continued to rear for the rest of the match. The best chance came when Cory Burke came in, tried to throw his big body around, and Casseres found himself with a close-range shot from an acute angle. Alas, that was saved, and Metro's two close-range free kicks in injury time were obviously wasted.
Peter Stroud joined Burke in making his debut, but his appearance was too little, too late. Overall, it was a promising defensive performance, a pitiful offensive one, and a very disappointing result. Did someone say this year was supposed to be different?
At least the uniforms were different?
Lineup: Coronel, Tolkin, Nealis, Reyes, Harper, Amaya, Casseres, Morgan, Luquinhas, Barlow, Manoel. Subs: Burke, Stroud, Fernandez.