Leagues Cup run ends on PKs in Philly
August 8, 2023

Philadelphia (4:3) New York
Harriel Manoel
08.08.23 · L Cup

What is it with penalty shootouts? After being involved with them just three times in their first 27 years (we're ignoring the 35-yard shootouts of the early MLS, obviously), Metro played in as many this year alone. And for the second time this year, penalties ended their cup run, as they failed to hold an early lead, tying Philly 1:1 and losing 4:3 on PKs.

Before we got to PKs... there was early Metro dominance? Yes, really. Somehow, Metro controlled the first half hour of the match, scoring just four minutes in. In a sequence rarely seen by this team, a Luquinhas won the ball in midfield, took it forward, and sent a perfect low pass to Omir Fernandez in the box. A sublime layoff by Fernandez left Elias Manoel with an easy conversion.

A few minutes later, Metro had a chance to double the lead, but Dante Vanzeir misfired after Andre Blake cut off the angle. And then, slowly but surely, Philly grew into the game. By the time the second half rolled over, it was a matter of when it will happen. A huge save by Carlos Coronel on one corner was later followed by one he couldn't handle, as Metro left a player unmarked, tying the game at 1:1.

Troy Lesesne, who finally benched Tom Barlow, put his "Big, Strong, Fast" striker early in the second half, the first of a string of baffling substitutions. Putting in Peter Stroud and Dru Yearwood for Luquinhas and Vanzeir straight after the goal clearly signaled that Lesesne was playing for penalty kicks. In the 95th minute, a still-somewhat-injured Lewis Morgan entered the game for an obvious reason.

Morgan, 6/6 from the spot last year, missed. Philly made, Frankie Amaya made, Philly made, then Coronel got his hands on the shot, but failed to keep it out. Edelman hit the crossbar to put Metro in a huge hole, which followed by a great save from Carlos Coronel. Alas, that was also for misses in the shootout, as goals by Sean Nealis and John Tolkin were not enough to see Metro through.

So, another cup dream dies, as Metro returns to the drudgery of the regular season, trying to salvage a playoff berth. But who are we kidding? Sure, they can make the playoffs, but this team is not winning any trophies.

And that's on Red Bull.

Lineup: Coronel, Tolkin, Nealis, Reyes, Harper, Edelman, Amaya, Luquinhas, Fernandez, Manoel, Vanzeir. Subs: Duncan, Barlow, Yearwood, Stroud, Morgan. Shootout: Morgan, Amaya, Edelman, Nealis, Tolkin.

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