Sunday, March 24, 2013

Rd 4: Win at RFK

Columbus beats the odds and grabs all three points away in Washington DC 1:2 with both goals from NE Ohio born players. This was easily one of the more engaging games of the young MLS season.

Columbus came ready to play and was as dominate and threatening in the first 20 minutes as they have been all year. DC made no adjustments to deal with Federico Higuain in the midfield and, well, generally looked unprepared.

The Crew still struggling to get anything from open play but just reward came from yet another set piece off the foot of Tyson Wahl and head of Josh Williams in the 15'. Somewhat against the run of play, DC was able to equalize in the 22' off some lazy defending from Glauber and with a touch of magic from (man-child) Rafael.

Crisis struck DC a few minutes later as Nick DeLeon went down with what appeared to be a hamstring problem.

As time ticked down on the frantic 1st half teams were relatively deadlocked.

Started much like the first, entertaining. With DeLeon missing and his replacement (Kyle Porter) a steep drop off from his talent, the Crew were able to control most of the happenings in the middle.

Again, reward from the Crew did not come from open play. It came from a corner that bounced around and found Ben Speas atop the 18 yd box. Speas whipped in a laser for his first career goal.

From there Columbus slipped back to defend and held DC off though both good defending and a couple amazing saves from Andy Gruenebaum.

• This game held all the hallmarks of a Ben Olsen DCU game. Which is to say, chaos.

• There was a somewhat controversial offside call that pulled back a DC goal as well as Chad Marshall pulling down Chris Pontius in the box that probably should have been a PK

• Match official Allen Chapman let things go this match, stopping the action very few times. 16 total fouls this game (about half what a normal match gets).

• So few fouls made for a wide open affair and this approach is probably calculated by the league. Fewer fouls and Red Cards this year.

• Josh Williams getting forward like a madman in the first 20 minutes. I've seen this before from him, most notably (and frustratingly) in the Dayton Dutch Lions game last year. He seemingly wants to win the game single-handedly. This is a quality trait.

• 4 of 7 Crew goals this year are from set pieces.

• Moving Oduro out of the midfield was the key to this match. While no goals came from open play, it did play up to the level of their opponent. Something that was missing from past two games.

• Eddie Gaven got a yellow for simulation around the box. It's been a while coming. Over the past couple years Eddie has racked up the most 'fouls suffered' in the league by going down very easy. It's become a bad habit for him. While he does look extra frail this year (man, does he), he's got the skill to work through fouls, he needs to stop going to ground.

• Ben Speas has been playing great. Good to see him get a win in a start away with the game winning goal. Well done.

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