Monday, July 4, 2016

Crew Lose, Updated WhoScored Ratings

The disjointedness created by injury, drama and various international summer breaks were on display last night as Columbus Crew SC was unable to hang onto a one-goal lead heading into halftime in KC.

Columbus not being able to hold a lead, particularly in the 2nd half, is something I took a look at recently. It's a major concern for a team that has many to address. Is it quality? Not enough players? Lacking the proverbial "will to win?" I'm not sure. Injuries are certainly an issue, particularly in the back, but Gregg Berhalter did more with less just last year.

Something that has become curious to me is the lack of playing time Waylon Francis is getting. The first choice right now is MLS veteran Corey Ashe. He's been serviceable, for the most part, but very far from the standard of Francis.

Although it hasn't be commented upon, it's very clear that Francis was benched after an uncharacteristically poor Round 9 performance against Montreal. Since then, it's been Ashe who has filled the left-back role (save for Rd 13).

The same approach has seemingly been taken with Tony Tchani. Round 4 was his piss poor match. From there he announced that he was not going to be playing for the US and (ahem) picked up a calf bruise that kept him off the regular rotation until two weeks ago.

What this leads us to is another issue. Key players not stepping up to fill the void left either by injury or intra-team drama. This falls on both captains - Michael Parkhurst and Wil Trapp. Performances have been below standard and they haven't been able to pull together the group (ie. issues above along with Emil Larsen and Amro Tarek leaving the team). These things fall on leadership.

You see in the box plot at the top that Justin Meram, Federico Higuain, Harrison Afful, Steve Clark, Gaston Sauro and Ola Kamara are having fine seasons. I say "fine" because it's just that. Last year the team had players with "great" seasons.

Trapp, Parkhurst, Ashe, Ethan Finlay and Cedrick have fallen off pace.

Here are best and worst performances so far this year, according to WhoScored:

TOP 10 (starters only):
9.90 : Justin Meram - Rd 6, NYC
9.62 : Kei Kamara - Rd 9, MTL
9.53 : Ola Kamara - Rd 12, RSL
8.42 : Federico Higuaín - Rd 12, RSL
8.32 : Justin Meram - Rd 4, FCD
8.12 : Tony Tchani - Rd 3, CHI
8.09 : Justin Meram - Rd 9, MTL
7.99 : Ethan Finlay - Rd 6, NYC
7.96 : Ola Kamara - Rd 16 SKC
7.95 : Ethan Finlay - Rd 13, PHI

BOTTOM 10 (starters only):
5.15 : Tyson Wahl - Rd 16, SKC
5.41 : Michael  Parkhurst - Rd 6, NYC
5.55 : Justin Meram - Rd 15, NYR
5.71 : Ethan Finlay - Rd 9, MTL
5.74 : Ethan Finlay - Rd 5, MTL
5.81 : Mohammed Saeid - Rd 13, PHI
5.84 : Waylon Francis - Rd 1, PDX
5.89 : Héctor Jiménez - Rd 13, PHI
5.92 : Ethan Finlay - Rd 14, MTL
5.92 : Michael  Parkhurst - Rd 16, SKC

Interesting to see Finlay struggle in the three games against Montreal. His speed advantage taken away there, I think. A name you don't see on either list is Wil Trapp. Consistency is his middle name and very important to that position, but we aren't seeing the very good Trapp of 2014/15.

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