Metro completely outlcassed by Columbus, 3:0
March 16, 2024

Columbus New York

03.16.24 · League

As the Richmond faithful said in "Ted Lasso", it's the hope that kills you. A promising start to the season was resoundingly quashed tonight during a trip to the defending champs that ended in a demoralizing 3:0 drubbing by the Crew. This wasn't the sort of match where the final score flattered a narrower margin of victory; the gulf between Metro and the reigning MLS Cup holders was evident from the opening whistle.

Due to a muscle injury to former captain Sean Nealis, head coach Sandro Schwarz was forced to give Andres Reyes his first start of the year. In addition to the personnel change, Schwarz opted to shift the formation to what was called a 4-4-2 that looked more like a 4-3-3 in possession. The tactical flexibility was welcome in theory, but unlike last week's 4-2-3-1, this week's wrinkle utterly failed in practice, a miserable 0.44 xG emblematic of the offensive ineptitude on display.

It only took thirteen minutes for disaster to strike. Malte Amundsen played a magnificent long pass from within Columbus' defensive third that found a streaking Yaw Yeboah all alone on Metro's right flank. Kyle Duncan had vacated the space in an attempt to account for an unmarked Aidan Morris, but the rest of the backline wasn't in position to rotate, leaving the Ghanaian in acres of space. Reyes did the best he could to attempt to close down Yeboah, but after abandoning Cucho Hernandez, the Colombian had already slipped past Noah Eile. Hernandez blasted the resulting cross into the roof of Carlos Coronel's net to open the scoring.

Columbus effectively put the contest to rest in the 56th minute. Under duress, Lewis Morgan tried to settle a bounding pass from Daniel Edelman at midfield, but had his pocket picked by Morris. The Crew midfielder poked the ball to Hernandez, who pivoted and played Jacen Russell-Rowe in behind the Metro defense. Reyes once again chased gamely, but could not intervene in time before the ball had departed for the lower left corner of the Metro goal.

We got a Dennis Gjengaar debut after the second goal, but any interest the Norwegian's introduction generated was negated by the hosts' third and final tally of the night shortly after. Edelman conceded a corner that was taken by Diego Rossi, whose near post ball was flicked onto the feet of an unmarked Morris. The US international, nemesis of the Metro midfield throughout the game, easily scored with the goal at his mercy. Edelman, who was named to the US Olypmic team's training camp on Friday, capped off a rough night on the pitch with a second yellow in the game's waning minutes for a late challenge on Morris. At least he won't be missing any action while he's in Spain and France next week!

Hopefully like the lopsided defeats to Orlando and Philadelphia last year, this game proves to be an aberrant result. That said, if anyone left this match concerned that this Metro side is incapable of hanging with the title favorites in the East, that feeling seems well-founded. Up next is Inter Messi part dos, another de facto road game against a contender. Can Metro bounce back, or will this be yet another campaign as also-rans?

Lineup: Coronel, Tolkin, Reyes, Eile, Duncan, Edelman, Amaya, Stroud, Morgan, Forsberg, Manoel. Subs: Gjengaar, Burke, Nealis.

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