Last-second miracle PK clinches playoff berth
October 21, 2023

Nashville New York

10.21.23 · League

"13 straight years in the playoffs." "Longest streak in North American sports." Repeat ad nauseam. It wasn't going to matter... until John Tolkin went right.

Time and time again we ask ourselves, why we keep watching this team. Even as recently as three weeks ago, when a terrible home defeat to Chicago sent Metro to what it seemed like definite doom... until John Tolkin went right.

To get to that point, of course, Metro had to win two league games in a row for the first time all year, and hope that Charlotte drop points to Miami in midweek. When all of that somehow happened, they entered Decision Day knowing that a win would get them in, something that seemed improbable three weeks ago. It seemed improbable into second half injury time... until John Tolkin went right.

To get there, Metro had to survive a nervy start of the game, and a VAR check when Carlos Coronel seemed to bring down old friend Alex Muyl in the box. Minutes later, the Metro keeper made a fingertip stop on a Nashville breakaway to make the ball hit the post and keep the game scoreless. And it stayed scoreless all the way through, which did Metro no good... until John Tolkin went right.

There were other outs, of course. Metro could have advanced with a tie if Chicago failed to beat the Smurfs, and Charlotte did not beat Miami. Chicago obliged, while Charlotte scored early, and Lionel Messi couldn't produce an equalizer. With that game ending first, it all looked dead for Metro... until John Tolkin went right.

For Tolkin to go right, however, first Luquinhas had to be taken down. And while the Brazilian's play is usually reduced to "put head down, run, hope for a foul", this time it worked. And this time, it was right at the edge of the box, and with usual penalty taker Omir Fernandez subbed out, Tolkin stepped up. He went to the left two times during Leagues Cup shootouts, so the Nashville goalie guessed that way. Thankfully, John Tolkin went right!

So now, not only does Metro enter the playoffs for the 14th straight year to extend the longest streak in North American sports, it actually earns a home playoff game for the wild card round against the same Charlotte team that looked to have pipped it. Oh, the playoffs have been a story of disaster for these 14 years, but after a turbulent season like this, how can one not be happy to see it extended? This is why we watch this team!... To see John Tolkin go right.

Lineup: Coronel, Tolkin, Nealis, Reyes, Duncan, Edelman, Amaya, Fernandez, Luquinhas, Manoel, Barlow. Subs: Harper, Yearwood, Nealis, Cabezas.

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