Amazing ending keeps Metro in Leagues Cup, 2:1
July 30, 2023
With the clock past 90, Atletico San Luis stepped to the penalty spot for what certainly was going to be the game-winner. Metro came into the match knowing that a tie was good enough to advance; well, that tie was due to slip away at the foot of the Mexican player. (He is actually Spanish? Well, that's the Leagues Cup for you; the Mexican sides are a big mystery to us.) And then... well, let's first see how we got there.
Alright, San Luis and their garishly horrible jerseys was not exactly a mystery; for those who saw New England slice through them on Wednesday, it was clear that there are goals to be had. Of course, that was New England, and this is Metro, and goals are not exactly our cup of tea. So when Luquinhas knocked a rebound off a corner eight minutes in, it looked like we finally had a breakthrough... only for him to be called offside.
Metro poured it on the rest of the first half. Well, "poured it on" is not exactly the right way to put it: they were extremely dangerous off corners, with Sean Nealis and Hassan Ndam barely missing, and Tom Barlow failing to connect. From the run of play, it was same old, same old: a complete inability to create. San Luis could do little outside of a breakaway goal that was called back after an obvious offside.
The second half saw more dangerous corners. Then -- finally -- in the 56th, a short John Tolkin right-side corner (what else!) found Dante Vanzeir's head at the near post, and Metro was up.
The lead lasted until the 69th, when a quick restart off a midfield foul caught the Metro defense napping. Carlos Coronel made a good initial save, but the rebound dropped to a Mexican attacker (He is actually Venezuelan? Apologies!), who didn't miss. So, now, 1:1, you know what's coming. Metro has to hold off...
Oh no, no, no! As the game was about to enter injury time, a clear Tolkin foul in the box led to the referee pointing to the spot. The kicker went to his left, where Coronel made the miraculous save to keep Metro alive.
That wasn't all. Soon after the save, the Metro keeper got the ball to Tolkin, who sent a wonderful through ball to Vanzeir, who finished off his breakaway. Somehow, a 2:1 defeat and tourney ouster became a 2:1 victory that topped the group. (It could have been 3:1, but an Elias Manoel breakaway was called back for a foul.)
We now care about the Leagues Cup!?
Lineup: Coronel, Tolkin, Nealis, Ndam, Harper, Edelman, Amaya, Luquinhas, Fernandez, Barlow, Vanzeir. Subs: Manoel, Yearwood, Donkor, Duncan, Reyes.