Metro avoids misery vs Charlotte, 2:2
June 21, 2023
2:0, the scoreboard read. The game was not even 20 minutes old. No, Metro did not score two, don't be ridiculous. It was the visitors from Charlotte converting on their first two chances. It all looked doomed.
At the end, it wasn't, despite some terrible refereeing and an abysmal first half. Metro came back in the second to tie the game at 2:2, and had some chances to win it at the end... as well as so lose it.
Charlotte opened the scoring 13 minutes in, as a goal kick dropped in the Metro box, where Sean Nealis could not play it cleanly. Six minutes later, Nealis was taken down in the penalty area, but somehow no foul was called. The ball ended up with Ben Bender, who got his second of the night.
Metro was completely anemic through the first 45, not waking up until injury time, when an absolutely blatant hand ball in the Charlotte box did not even result in a VAR review. The hand moved, the ball changed direction... it wasn't called. We're not sure how this referee still has a job, so let's move on.
And Metro did move on to the second half, with Dante Vanzeir and Daniel Edelman coming on for Frankie Amaya and Peter Stroud at the break. Eight minutes in, Kyle Duncan sent a perfect low ball through Charlotte's half of the field onto the path of Elias Manoel. The Brazilian took it to the left edge of the box and centered it to Vanzeir, who cleverly redirected it in.
Five minutes later, the game was tied. Metro kept it alive off a corner kick. Duncan eventually sent it to the box, where it was knocked back by Nealis. Cameron Harper jumped on the loose ball and made it 2:2.
That was all the scoring tonight, but not for trying. A blistering free kick from Cristian Casseres rang off the corner of the frame, and other quality chances were snuffed out as well. Metro kept pushing until the end, and almost paid for it twice. First, Carlos Coronel aimlessly wandered into the center of the field, only to not win the ball. Thankfully, the ensuing empty net shot went wide. Then, three minutes into injury time, with most of the Metro team caught upfield, a ball got behind the defense and ended with Coronel making a huge save at the near post.
No, a home point against a bad team is not exactly great, but it could have been much much worse. Let's just hope that Metro don't need to be down two every game for for the team to wake up...
Lineup: Coronel, Duncan, Nealis, Ndam, Harper, Stroud, Amaya, Casseres, Carmona, Luquinhas, Manoel. Subs: Vanzeir, Edelman, Fernandez, Barlow.