Metro salvages a delayed point vs San Jose, 1:1
April 8, 2023
If someone told us before the game that Tom Barlow would rescue a point by scoring in the 107th minute, we would be shocked, because 1) Tom Barlow scored, and 2) 107th minute!, but "shock" does not precisely describe the experience tonight. What started as a repeat of a Metro-can't-score formula turned into a surreal experience with a 20-minute delay amidst accusations of racism... and, yes, a Barlow goal that eventually tied San Jose 1:1.
With the addition of Luquinhas to the injury list, Gerhard Struber went with a surprise formation change, a 3-5-2 with Dante Vanzeir getting his first start. Cameron Harper and Kyle Duncan manned the wings.
Metro's best chance of the first half came on a perfect Cristian Casseres cross to Vanzeir, but the Belgian's header rang wide. Halfway through the period, he was sprung on a breakaway only to be taken down outside the box. The VAR gods didn't smile on Metro once again, settling on a yellow. Late in the period, a out-of-nowhere lob from the Quakes caught Carlos Coronel backpedaling and thankfully rang off the top of the crossbar.
All hell broke loose nine minutes into second half, when the Quakes' Judson went studs up into the shoulder of Dylan Nealis. Again, no red was given, but this time the result was not that simple. According to San Jose players, in the ensuing fracas something racist was said by Vanzeir. If lips could be read, when asked by Gerhard Struber to confirm, he vehemently denied it, and yet the game stalled, stalled, stalled for at least a quarter of an hour as the referees tried to figure out what to do. At the end, the game resumed as if nothing happened.
Then, something happened, when a perfect long ball from the visitors found Cristian Espinoza, who beat Dylan Nealis and slotted past Coronel's short side. That was in the 80th minute... well, not really.
"Not really" because the referees flashed (record?) 21 minutes of injury time. And while Metro bravely fought off two potential breakaways, with Andres Reyes continuing to impress, they couldn't do much on the other end. San Jose stuffed the box, Metro couldn't break through, and it looks like we were heading for yet another shutout defeat.
And then, 17(!) minutes into injury time, Fernandez setup an unmarked Duncan, whose shot was saved by the Quakes' keeper, only to drop on the doorstep. There, the unstoppable Barlow did not miss, and a point was rescued.
A point is a point, don't get us wrong, especially one rescued so late. But sitting on one win after seven games, with just five goals to their name... Yes, important players have been injured, but this is not good enough.
Surreal game or not, that's the reality.
Lineup: Coronel, Nealis, Nealis, Reyes, Harper, Duncan, Amaya, Casseres, Fernandez, Vanzeir, Burke. Subs: Stroud, Manoel, Barlow, Carmona.