Scum sent packing by late Tolkin tally, 1:0
August 21, 2023

New York DC United
08.20.23 · League

A hundred league matches behind us, and we're not sure we'll ever hate another team as much as we despise the Scum. Do we detest the blue poseurs across the Hudson? Does it drive us nuts that they frequently squat at our home turf as vagabonds who don't have access to their youth-level field inside a baseball stadium? Certainly. However, even with an obnoxious rival close to home, no team makes the bile rise in our throats quite like the miscreants from DC. A rivalry that was extremely one-sided in the formative years his since become far more favorable to Metro, and took another step toward long term equilibrium tonight with a drab 1:0 victory.

Recent stalwart Frankie Amaya was under the weather this week, making way for Dru Yearwood to return to the starting eleven. And boy, did Yearwood put on a clinic in the first half...on what not to do. Attack-stymieing balls forward, errant back passes, a soft shot directly at the keeper: all this for the low price of nearly $600k. We can only hope an uncouth League Two side swoops in to save Yearwood from his four-year exile to the colonies; between the Englishman and the ever-ineffective Tom Barlow, Metro could well have the two worst outfield players in the league on the roster.

Speaking of Barlow, the "Big, Strong, Fast" striker made a chilling entrance into the game in the 28th minute, replacing Dante Vanzeir, who pulled up lame with what appeared to be a muscle strain. While the Belgian has hardly burned up opposing nets this year, his removal from the game for Barlow signaled this would likely be, at best, a match that only had a single goal in it.

It very nearly didn't have that one goal on offer. Led from the touchline by a portly, haggard, dour-looking Wayne Rooney apparently in his "East London dockworker" era, the Scum mustered only four shots, none of which troubled Carlos Coronel's net. Christian Benteke, DC's burly Belgian center forward, a physically imposing figure in his prime, found himself no match for Andres Reyes throughout. Not that Metro contributed much more to the aesthetics of the match; aside from a handful of swashbuckling moments from Luquinhas, the usual suspects up front did little to generate any sort of attack.

Salvation finally arrived in the 88th minute. After substitute Wiki Carmona was fouled just outside the corner of the box, Daniel Edelman and John Tolkin stood over the ball, apparently contemplating who between them would take a shot on goal. Surely, the announcers thought aloud, the angle was too narrow for Tolkin to attempt a left-footed shot? No sooner had the words been spoken than Tolkin blazed a low, bounding ball around the Scum wall and into the bottom corner of the net. The homegrown hero celebrated emphatically in front of the South Ward with the full understanding that his strike had captured all three points for the good guys.

Ten matches now remain in the regular season, and a match with Inter Miami Messi looms next Saturday night. Metro players will have the unfamiliar (for this era) experience of playing in front of a packed house, even though the majority will be rooting for the visitors. Do they have the fortitude to grind out a narrow victory against a team that scored at ease in the Leagues Cup? The slim hope for another improbable tournament run likely depends on the answer.

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

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