Metro can't hold on in Orlando, 1:1
March 30, 2024

Orlando New York
Eile(OG) Morgan
03.30.24 · League

If there is one thing we don't love from the Sandro Schwarz tenure, it's the tendency to play the bunker with the one-goal lead. It has worked twice this season, and almost did tonight... until an unfortunate late bounce made Metro settle for a 1:1 tie with Orlando.

Coming off the terrific short-handed win, Schwarz elected to keep the starting field players, even with the absentees returning from international duty. (Emil Forsberg would have like have been the one obvious change, but he was held out with a hamstring injury.) Carlos Coronel was the only change from last week.

Metro's goal came in the 21st minute, after some terrific play from Dylan Nealis. Starting again at right back, the defender bravely took the ball into the box and passed it to Lewis Morgan, who was hacked down. Morgan placed a perfect penalty into the bottom right corner for his sixth of the season.

And then... bunker ball. Well, not for the entire time left, but for much of it. Metro wasn't without chances off counter-attacks, however, with a good sequence that ended with a Dennis Gjengaar shot saw it cleared off the line. Then, with about 10 minutes left, Wiki Carmona sprung Elias Manoel on an easy breakaway. The Orlando keeper came out, Manoel had all kinds of options... and missed wide.

It's not that bunker ball wasn't successful; Metro defenders has their way with the Orlando attackers the entire night. It's just that it can be undone by a momentary lapse, and that happened one minute from time. Orlando keep pushing, Cameron Harper was beaten on the right, and the ball went off another sub, Noah Eile, to tie the game.

In retrospect, a road point is not exactly terrible, even with the late equalizer. But one has to wonder what would have happened if Schwarz didn't revert to the bunker... or if Elias Manoel ever learned to shoot straight.

Lineup: Coronel, Duncan, Nealis, Reyes, Nealis, Stroud, Amaya, Gjengaar, Carmona, Morgan, Vanzeir. Subs: Harper, Manoel, Eile, Tolkin.

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