Sunday, June 19, 2016

Crew Didn't Concede

The game plan for Columbus last night appeared to be to keep possession and not give up a goal. It worked, but maybe too well. With no true forward on the pitch, the normal approach of banging crosses in all match (though, it didn't stop them from racking up 14 - To whom? no idea) wasn't a productive option and forced the team to try and move around Montreal and get a good look on goal.

The approach yielded one official attempt on goal. Not good! But, that's ok! Because after giving up six goals in their last two matches (11 in their last 5) meant that not conceding was priority number one.

Right behind that was not giving up goals (or the lead) in the 2nd half. If you listing out "big topic" issues this year's Crew have, it's exactly that. Actually, it's gotten to the point where you may need to question player commitment, discipline, guts, grit and broad, sloppy terms like that.

What's weird is that Columbus only trails in games an average of 12.9 minutes. If you look at when Columbus is either level or leading the opposition, they are 3rd only behind Colorado and LA. What that means is that the team has zero of those broad, sloppy terms late in games (mental discipline, being the big one for me).

Avg. Minutes Leading or Level
80.0 : LA Galaxy
79.7 : Colorado Rapids
77.0 : Columbus Crew SC
74.7 : Montreal Impact
71.9 : Real Salt Lake

That's an interesting metric to look at. Right behind RSL you find a couple bad teams in Chicago (71.6) and DC United (71.8). It suggests inconsistency and having a poor ability to close out a game is right up there with, well, consistency and closing out games.

Up to this point, I believe this to be a bi-product of a broken back four in defense. The return of Tyson Wahl will help keep things stable, but he is a band-aid on a big wound.

Moving past this point, Columbus will have to play more games like this because of the injury to Federico Higuain. Controlling matches at home, like they did last night, will be important as upcoming games on the road, where the other team will be pressing, will not be easy.

Columbus stopped the bleeding yesterday before venturing out on a tough upcoming month where they face a red hot NY Red Bulls at home and two teams in desperate need of points on the road (Sporting KC and NE Revs).

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