Sunday, June 19, 2011

Decisive. Crew 2 Crush 0

Columbus outplayed a decumbent Houston Dynamo squad last night. That's right. Decumbent. I'm not sure how else to describe how the Dynamo played. Whatever it was, the Canaries made them pay up for it.

The first goal of the game was satisfying for Crew fans. Bernardo Añor showed a brilliant piece of mid-field ball skill and composure before he fed Mendoza. No deflections, no messy play in the 6 yard box, and no sliding/falling down shot into goal. It was a pure one and it felt good.

Goals right before half are reward for the work done in training.

Before the goal both teams were seemingly trying to conserve energy under the heavy heat. It wasn't the prettiest thing to watch but it didn't feel like last weeks Chicago disaster. Word around canarytown was that the practices were intense over the past week. I could tell the Crew were hungry. It paid off.

The EPL is where I spend most of my soccer time but this year I've watched more MLS over the past four months then I ever have. In Major League Soccer it's mental focus and energy that wins games more then talent. I happen to adore that. That's not to say there isn't talent in the league though. There is. But often times it's snuffed out by half empty stadiums, little press / pub and no TV options for fans. That is changing though. The leaps the league has made this year alone is great. It's exciting to see.

The second half:

The Crew worked hard in controlling the effort Houston put forth in reaching for the equalizer. Hesmer was in top form and made critical saves. Houston's effort was destroyed when the Dynamo's Palmer got sent off after his second mistimed tackle.

With a man up Columbus worked the ball around the pitch with little threat from the now exhausted opposition. That too, was great to see.

Meram (highlight) was inserted in the game late for a shot of fresh legs and it paid off. He made a darting run down the right, crossed it in front of goal and found Anor and an open net. Anor made a mess off it on his first strike but made amends when it bounced off (a surprised) Houston's out of position GK Tally. Meram provided the quality on this goal - but a goal is a goal and it was well deserved for Anor.

When it was all said and done Anor walked away with an assist, a yellow, and a goal. Great game for the young fella who has been putting in impressive performances for the reserve team.

Other game notes:

- Hesmer was my Man o the Match. Great game. Great saves. Leadership. He had a humorous swat on one save but it did the trick. Barking orders to his backline and controlling the pace. If it weren't for a couple gigantic misfired kicks into the cheap seats it would have been an A+ game for him. A Dynamo goal would have been disastrous and he kept them out.

- Warzycha kept Heinemann on almost the full 90 on a blazin' hot sauce hot wings night. Thank you. The kid needs some of the immaturity worked out of him. Tom (along side Mendoza) creates real problems for opponents. Houston's back is not as bad as they looked. It was the Crew making them look bad. A Cunningham start would have been preferred by Houston. He is not the threat he once was.

- Gardner played well and worth note. I'm starting to hope he has found his home here in Columbus.
- Mendoza got a knock... got tired... and got weird. At one point the camera panned over to him just lying flat on his back. He played hard, but it was a funny moment so it get's a picture and a quote.

- Balchan, Meram, Anor, Heinemann. The future looks brighter this morning for the Crew.

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