Sunday, June 26, 2011

Pivotal 5 Weeks, Crew v. Rapids Preview

The Crew are starting their busiest month of the season. Nine games already scheduled between now and the end of July. More if they get past the Richmond Kickers on Tuesday (US Open Cup game). It's the kind of run in the middle of the season that can make or break the team. I'm really looking forward to it, truth be told.

This mid-season clump of games presents interesting lineup challenges for the Coach Warzycha and Co. In a way, having players out recently due to minor injury might have been a mini blessing in disguise. I expect Duka, Griffit and Renteria getting healthy for this stretch. Who knows, we may even get to see local hero Mr. Danny O'Rourke out there soon. He has been a regular starter since joining the team back in 2007. It's been strange not seeing him out there this year. We are suddenly looking at a very deep MLS team if these guys get healthy.

On to the Crew v. Rapids.

Columbus is currently (and surprisingly) sitting in 3rd in the East. A win today puts them tied NY for 2nd with a game in hand. I'm not sure anyone expected that this far in at the start of the season.

Last year's MLS Cup winner Colorado is having a good year as well. I have MF Jeff Larentowicz ranked in the top 20. He's the man to watch today. The Rapids are going to be a bit hobbled though without Striker Caleb Folan (Red Card) but it could be argued that Omar Cummings (2 goals, 1 assist in only 551 mins) and Conor Casey (3 goals, 1 assist 562 mins) are playing just as well. Actually, they are playing just as well.

The game today will be between two teams about as evenly matched as they come. Similar GF and GA per game. Similar records and similar goal distribution between players on each team.

It's going to be a beautiful evening in Columbus. It rained all morning but has since stopped and the temps will be in the mid-60s. Add in a reasonable start time and we have ourselves the makings of a great game.

Helltown Beer inside info that you'd probably rather not know:

The game is scheduled on a semi-unusual Sunday at 8pm because of the Kenny Chesney concert last night which, I hear, some of the rookie Crew players attended. Hey, if they got them a little country in 'em? Good. I'd like to think Gaven and Marshall were at the local pub watching the US Mexico game sipping scotch. Next go 'round fellas, next one. Anyway, the Crew stadium crew has been spending the whole day cleaning up and getting the pitch ready. Let's hope it's in good shape.

2nd place in the East? I like how that sounds.

PS. 2606 video treatment for Eddie if he scores tonight.

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