Sunday, September 23, 2012

Crew Round 30: Undone

Two goals in three minutes from Ohioan Chris Rolfe is enough to put away the Columbus Crew and damage their playoff hopes. Chicago takes it, 2:1 and steams towards 1st in the Eastern Conference.

Both teams spared back and forth and couldn't create many chances. The game was waiting for a mistake and the Fire's young 'keeper Sean Johnson gave it to the Crew on a silver platter with lazy play in the back. Jairo Arrieta pounced and cleanly put it away for a 1:0 Crew lead in the early going.

The goal woke the home sided up and they turned up the pressure and methodically tested the Crew backline. First on the right, against Josh Williams. Then on the left against Sebastian Miranda. Then finally settling on the middle, taking on Chad Marshall and Julius James. It was here that the Fire found the soft underbelly of the Crew.

Logan Pause connected with Sherjill MacDonald who easily drew out Marshall and Julius James and found Rolfe with a through ball. Rolfe made the one-on-one look like a formality and put it past a charging Andy Gruenebaum.

Three minutes later the Fire again found it easy to play tight around the top of the 18 yard box and Rolfe hoisted a beautiful one up past Gruenebaum.

Columbus didn't appear to come out in there usual attacking fashion and let Chicago apply the early pressure. It took until around the 70th minute when both Justin Meram and Tony Tchani came on for the Crew to start maintaining possession and attack. Olman Vargas even made a rare appearance 10 minutes later to up the Crew chances.

Opportunities were found but disorganized, as the game devolved into the familiar Crew scramble at the end. This chaotic end to games the Crew create have worked against some lesser teams of late but against a better club it fell flat.

• Julius James is looking more like he should be a 3rd option at CB at this point, behind both Josh Williams and Carlos Mendes (currently injured).

• Milovan Mirosevic disappeared during large portions of last nights game. His decision making isn't helping Federico Higuain and Jairo Arrieta get the ball.

• Tony Tchani again came on to be a presence and again was sloppy. It's hard to explain how someone how Tchani plays. It's like there is another layer of reality that he sometimes crosses to and fro that is slightly different then our own. Only he mixes them up. To us it'd be like watching a old VHS tape that's been taped over again and again, to Tchani... that's his reality.

• Interesting the Renteria got the start over Tchani. It doesn't appear that Tchani was too happy about it either: "Why even keep trying???????????" was his tweet a little over an hour before the game started.

• Tchani's maturity has been in question before (see missed Generation Adidas trip to Holland last winter).

• Chris Birchall, who as fallen out of the starting lineup and known more for his humor and smile, expressed similar discontent last night after the game: "Starting to become a little frustrating now".

• The Crew have thrown a lot of new faces into the club halfway through the year. Going back to last year, just about everyone is new. You (the Crew) are going to have team frustrations. One has to think that Dilly Duka's absence was something discipline / team related and has uncovered some cracks that seem to dog Robert Warzycha year after year.

• "They didn't draft me," said Rolfe jokingly after the match. "They had a couple of rounds to draft me, so that's the way it is." (James Coston reported that on his Hot Time in Old Time blog after asking why he does so well against the Crew).

• In 2005 the Crew drafted Marcus Storey and Domenic Mediate over Chris Rolfe... in the future, Columbus Crew, always go with the local guys first. You fight harder for the earth under your feet. Ask any invading army in the history of humankind.

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