Metro crushes Toronto, 3:0, to stay alive
October 7, 2023

New York Toronto
Luquinhas 2

10.07.23 · League

Tom Barlow scored a goal. Luquinhas scored two. Elias Manoel provided three assists. What the hell just happened?

What happened is Metro played a terrible Toronto team, losers of 13 of their last 14 (give or take), and Metro made them pay, 3:0. What happened is that Metro won two league matches in a row for the first time all year. What happened is that Metro, who seemed dead in the water just a week ago, now enters its regular season finale with a chance for a playoff berth.

It didn't look to be an onslaught early on, as Metro continued its troubling trend of attacking, but not scoring. Kyle Duncan misfired into side netting, Omir Fernandez missed a header just wide, then again from close range... it looked like Metro was going to go into halftime scoreless yet again.

And then, right before the break, Manoel stripped Michael Bradley. The ex-Metro received a backpass at the edge of penalty area, casually walked backwards, where an onrushing Manoel pressured, won the ball, and smartly found an unmarked Barlow for a one-on-one versus the goalkeeper. Barlow didn't miss. (Barlow didn't miss? What the hell just happened?)

The lead was doubled three minutes after the break. A good long pass from Fernandez found Manoel just outside the center circle, who sent it forward to Luquinhas. The other Brazilian started running towards goal, and with four Toronto defenders surrounding him, had no choice but take a shot from outside the box. That shot bounced and went in at the far post.

In the 65th, the result became academic. Manoel fed Duncan, who took it into the box and centered it to Luquinhas. The Brazilian, who scored just once previously all year, got his second of the match. (And Manoel, who had two assists all year, got that all-elusive three assists game. What the hell just happened?)

So now, Metro goes to Nashville knowing that a victory will likely mean a playoff berth. (Since Charlotte has a game in hand, if they win it, it might win that a Metro victory might not be enough.) What the hell will happen?

Lineup: Coronel, Tolkin, Nealis, Ndam, Duncan, Edelman, Amaya, Fernandez, Luquinhas, Manoel, Barlow. Subs: Nealis, Harper, Stroud, Yearwood, Burke.

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