Monday, May 30, 2011

Puzzling Crew v. Chivas Game

It was clear that the Crew set out to put away some goals on Saturday night. Perhaps coach Warzycha watched some of the Philadelphia Union / Toronto FC game earlier that day and gained even more confidence in his game plan. Only problem is that Warzycha couldn't help but make changes to something that wasn't broken in the back.

The Crew's defense had been solid, mid-field? Average. With that, the expected changes were done to the front with Mendoza, Heinemann and Ekpo in CAM role. They were. And it kinda worked save for the fact that for some reason Warzycha couldn't keep his hands off the things that had been working.

The change to add Gardner over both Rusmir and Burns was bizarre. To start the game Warzycha switched Rogers to the right and Gaven to the left was again, bizarre.

The results of the changes in the middle were thus: Gardner went rogue, seemingly everywhere and out of position often. Which could have contributed to why Gaven looked out of position and made it seem like Robbie started his international break early.

The Crew MF of Gaven, Rogers and Gardner, in that formation = Garbage. If possession stats say anything, it says that.

Ekpo played confidently though. His assist to Mendoza was all hustle and skill. His turn in the box and shot in goal was skillful as well.

Heinemann again proved that he is a threat when streaking towards goal and in the air even though his touches in the mid-field weren't great. Maybe he wouldn't have had to do that had the Crew's MF not been blown up.

Mendoza. His two goals were FIFA 11 like. High quality. I've been watching the Crew since I moved here in 2006 and I can only think of a handful of goals scored that confidently. Inexplicably, Warzycha pulled him with plenty of time on the clock preventing him from a deserved hat trick. I heard he walked off right after the sub. Some say he was physically hurt. I say he felt he was robbed of reaching 3. Regardless, it doesn't excuse walking off the pitch into the locker room.

Hesmer may have been able to play better. A messy headed ball across the post caught him once. Another time a strong shot bounced off his hands at 5 yards out and fell in the goal. I can't say that he should have gotten them, but I know to expect a lot from him. I've seen him make those saves.

Chivas came out on the attack and caught the D off guard. Once order was restored in the second half in the MF I noticed Marshall playing better. His form was restored.

Cunningham. He did look good and he was all fight. But it was with fresh legs against tired ones. I know the game plan for the franchise this year was to get some players experience, hopefully sneak in the playoffs and get Cunningham two goals for the MLS record. But I think the weight of this record is causing some bad decisions.

When Renteria comes back we probably shouldn't see him coming on in critical situations.

In any performance based industry you look for consistency. Even if you are not hitting the target you can build off consistency. The analogy here is archery. If you are hitting the same target over and over (even the barn behind the target) at least you can expect, learn from and understand the mechanics involved in doing so. What Warzycha did was disrupt the consistency in the MF and CDM. Two things that were, if anything, consistent outside of the one game (data point) in San Jose. Now the Crew thinks they solved the problem of scoring goals. But under the surface they've created a new one in preventing them.

Now we have arrows going everywhere. Not good with NY coming up.

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