Shorthanded Metro scraps for a point in Toronto, 0:0
May 17, 2023
When Metro pulled out a victory over the blue poseurs on the weekend, the word "Pyrrhic" almost entered the lexicon. For the win came at a cost: three key players got their fifth yellow card of the season, meaning Metro was going to be incredibly shorthanded for the midweek game at Toronto. And with two of those players being central defenders, you would think that Metro would find it very difficult to keep Toronto's supposedly good attackers at bay.
Well, the defense held and didn't break, but the offense was its usual anemic self, as the game ended with a scoreless draw. Yes, it wasn't far from ideal, but considering the three-man defense had Hassan Ndam in between John Tolkin and Dylan Nealis, a shutout is a great result, even with the offensive ineptitude.
Ndam, who has been erratic at best in his limited first-team action, acquitted himself incredibly well tonight, sniffing out numerous Toronto chances. Both his partners made huge defensive plays as well. Tolkin blocked a goal-bound shot in the first half, and Nealis raced back to break up a potential breakaway in the second.
On the offense... well, there wasn't much offense. Wiki Carmona, given then attacking reigns, turned into a turnover machine, and Tom Barlow was his usual "Big, Strong, Fast" self. The best chance of the game came early in the second when Elias Manoel was sprung into the penalty area. He did well to beat the charging keeper, but had his shot ring off the crossbar.
Metro was so short on players, that reserve call-up O'Vonte Mullings made his first-team debut in front of his home Canadian crowd. Then, in injury time, Jayden Reid was thrown on the field as well to earn his first minutes.
At the end, a scoreless draw was a fair result. Metro now heads into the weekend with not only with its favored defensive pairing returning, but also the probable comeback of Dante Vanzeir. Oh, and Troy Lesesne's teams still haven't allowed a goal. Even with that makeshift defense...
Lineup: Coronel, Tolkin, Ndam, Nealis, Harper, Yearwood, Stroud, Fernandez, Carmona, Manoel, Barlow. Subs: Burke, Mullings, Reid.