Open Cup magic runs out on PKs
May 23, 2023

New York (3:5) Cincinnati
Vanzeir Kubo
05.23.23 · Open Cup

In tonight's Open Cup loss to Cincinnati, Troy Lesesne made his first major Metro mistake. We'll get to that. Let's recap the match first, a tense, erratic affair that saw Metro claw overtime from near defeat, only to be defeated by the referee and then, the dreaded penalties.

To say that Metro dominated the match does not exactly paint the right picture. Cincinnati decided to sit behind the ball and let Metro come at them. As we have seen numerous times this season (regardless of who the coach is), Metro can't exactly break through opposing defenses. So despite the supposed discrepancy, the visitors were the ones who broke through. Their goal came in the 42nd minute on a counterattack, on a roller in the box that tucked into a corner past Ryan Meara. Then, midway through the second half, a breakaway shot looked destined to go in, but somehow rang off the post.

Two minutes into injury time, Metro finally broke through. With most of the team camping around the Cincinnati box, Sean Nealis did well to keep the ball alive. It was deflected by a defender onto Dante Vanzeir, who smashed a one-time volley from the top of the box and inside the near post. Metro had life.

They had life into overtime, when Luquinhas, back from injury and playing spryly, was chopped down in the box. Somehow, the referee decided to not call a penalty, and the there is no VAR in the Open Cup, so we played on. Meara made a huge save, Elias Manoel took an extra touch to blow a chance, as we entered the 120th minute, with dreaded penalties to follow. This is when Lesesne made his mistake.

Actually, the mistake came before the match, when he chose Carlos Coronel to back up Meara. AJ Marcucci, who has stopped penalty after penalty for the reserve team, would have been the logical choice to put on the substitute bench just for this occasion. Instead, we got Coronel... and Coronel went in. As a field player.

That is not part of a mistake! It was a magical moment, with Lesesne deciding that Coronel would be a better penalty taker than debutant Matt Nocita. To see the goalkeeper wearing a field player's jersey with his #1 was beyond marvelous... surely, we will see magic in the dreaded penalties?

We didn't. Alas, Coronel didn't even get a chance to shoot. Cincinnati went first and scored. Vanzeir missed the opener, so it was an uphill battle from there. Manoel, Wiki Carmona, and Cristian Casseres all scored, but Meara couldn't get to any of the Cincinnati shots. At the end, what could have been a magical finish turned into yet another in a long line of Metro failures.

(But, seriously, that Coronel sub was pretty damn cool. Thanks for that, Troy... Mistake or not.)

Lineup: Meara, Tolkin, Nealis, Ndam, Nealis, Stroud, Casseres, Harper, Yearwood, Barlow, Vanzeir. Subs: Carmona, Manoel, Burke, Mullings, Luquinhas, Nocita, Coronel. Shootout: Vanzeir, Manoel, Carmona, Casseres.

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