Sunday, March 9, 2014

Parkhurst, Williams, Higuain Shine in Impressive Season Opening Win

A prepared Columbus Crew took down a disorganized and out of shape DC United team yesterday.

 1ST HALF (0:2)     
The first 30 minutes of this game were enjoyable to watch as both teams were willing to let the other maintain possession. DC, however, was giving way too much space to Hector Jimenez and Josh Williams on the right side of the attacking half and it cost them dearly.

Some good one touch passing (on the ground) set up Jairo Arrieta on the first goal in the 18th and further attacking play on the right side earned the corner that led to Perry Kitchen pulling down Micheal Parkhurst in the box for a penalty in the 27th.

 2ND HALF (0:1)     
The Crew came out playing much as they did in the first half and never really dropped back into a shell even with a two goal lead. They had no reason too as DC had zero ideas going forward. Eddie Johnson and Fabian Espindola were just hung out to dry most of the game.

Much less enjoyable game in the second half. Late in the game Ben Olsen pulled a defender to put in one of his favorite players in Porter. DC seemed to perk up a bit in the attack but most of the players looked gassed.

DC's fatigue showed in the finishing. The created a decent amount of chances (11 Shots, 1 on frame) but just didn't have the legs to get them on target.

Justin Meram found Higuain late on in extra time to finish the game off.

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 FINAL, GAME THOUGHTS (0:3)     
The opening month to a MLS season is often more of a final exam for a team's offseason than it is as a full season predictor. With that, the Crew get and A for the second year in a row and DC gets another F. Bill Hamid was terrible and for some reason looked like he had no confidence (in a season opener?) and Perry Kitchen is proving that he is not an MLS starter.

DC also have another problem in Ben Olsen. I'm hesitantly chalking this one up to early season chemistry problems but this DC version 2014, with upgrades all over the field, looked identical to DC 2013. That's on Olsen and he needs to improve. I know that team wanted to come out with a big win to wash last year out of their mouths and instead they looked a mess again.

This shouldn't discount what the Crew did, however. They played organized, coached and very well. One game far from something to draw conclusions from. We'll know a lot more about this team by the end of April.

To put the Crew performance in some perspective, here are how each MLS team did according to WhoScored.com...

SCORE : TEAM
7.67 : Houston Dynamo
7.27 : Real Salt Lake
7.16 : Vancouver Whitecaps
7.15 : FC Dallas
7.11 : Columbus Crew
7.03 : Seattle Sounders
6.90 : Montreal Impact
6.84 : LA Galaxy
6.84 : Portland Timbers
6.82 : Philadelphia Union
6.62 : Sporting KC
6.34 : NY Red Bulls
6.26 : New England Revs
6.24 : DC United

The Crew have an extra week before Philly comes to town on March 22nd.

3 comments:

Michael Morrison said...

Great game. Where do you see Oduro fitting in with this new pass happy lineup? I don't think that first goal happens with him instead of Jimenez. Does Jairo become our super-sub?

Larry W Johnson II said...

I'm not sure that goal happens without the right MF either. Would like Jimenez to stay in the midfield and Oduro and Arrieta trade time in that single forward role. If the team needs a goal late, maybe have them both on.

Vidda Grubin said...

End of game situations, in which a goal is needed, call for putting more players on the field who can operate in tight spaces without giving the ball away, and precision finishers.

Having Arrieta and Oduro on the field together when the opponent is protecting a lead is not a recipe for success. This is precisely the reason the Crew still need one more attacking player added to the roster. That, or one of the currently rostered players steps up and becomes the reliable, packed penalty area sniper.

I do believe that Meram is capable. I think Bedell is a different way of achieving the same thing.

Yet, signing one more clinical tight space finisher is the number one priority for the Crew to become a top 3 MLS team. Funny thing, if Crew find this finisher, I think that the new guy and Meram together would be the most logical way to line-up along with Pipa, Anor, Jimenez, and Tchani.