Metro manages Miami, 1:0, to end busy May
May 31, 2023
When May started, Metro was starting at an intimidating gauntlet: a last-place team with no ability to score, potential midweek games throughout, and a roster devastated by injuries and suspension. Oh, and Gerhard Struber was still coach.
As May ends today, Troy Lesesne's Metro somehow navigated it. Yes, the Open Cup run is over, and yes, the team still struggles to score goals, but at least more and more results are going their way. Such was the case tonight, where Metro shrugged off an early scare to beat Miami 1:0 on a Tom Barlow goal. Yes, a Tom Barlow goal. He also got an assist in this month of May. It's been a crazy ride.
We finally saw the returns of Frankie Amaya and Kyle Duncan from long-term injury, and Andres Reyes came back from his short-term one. Perhaps even more importantly, Lewis Morgan played the last half hour for his first minutes since Game 3.
The first three minutes were a frenetic back-and-forth, with Wiki Carmona, of all people, stopping a Miami breakaway with a fantastic backtracking tackle. Later in the half, it was Sean Nealis' turn by somehow winning the ball at the goalmouth to prevent a sure goal. Sandwiched by these two great defensive plays was a terrible one, when Duncan needlessly pulled a shirt in the box, which results in a penalty given by VAR. After all the penalty troubles this year, things finally went Metro's way, as Carlos Coronel guessed correctly to easily swarm the shot. First half ended -- how else! -- scoreless.
The goal came in the 52nd minute after halftime sub Cristian Casseres found Luquinhas in the center of the field. The Brazilian, who has been playing like a man rejuvenated since returning from injury (or being freed from Struber's shackles), waltzed through the entire Miami side of the field and into the box. There, he took an extra touch and placed the shot that dinged off the far post. Thankfully, Barlow was right there for the rebound to score the easiest goal of his life into the empty net.
Metro could have extended the lead when Cameron Harper found space on the right and sent a perfect cross into the box that Cory Burke woefully miss-hit. But with Metro's defense reverting to its usual steady form, a second goal was not necessary. Miami rarely threatened, and Harper's second yellow came too late to make any difference. Metro earned its first road win of the year.
Well, we are no longer in last place and it seems that hope is starting to build. If someone told us when May began, we would have taken it...
Lineup: Coronel, Tolkin, Nealis, Reyes, Duncan, Amaya, Stroud, Carmona, Luquinhas, Vanzeir, Burke. Subs: Casseres, Barlow, Harper, Morgan, Yearwood.