Thursday, July 7, 2011

Wicked Start Time, Wicked Crew Win

I do believe that Crew fans witnessed an MLS game that employed direct attack tactics from a weaker side. As a nearly two year old Potters fan I am begrudgingly familiar with the direct attack or long ball (or at least, a fan of a team that are accused of it). It's a tactic almost as old as the game itself. Throughout the PL season last year I found myself reading up on it.

On to the game (sort of):

After Whitecaps skipper Tom Soehn retired as a player he became an assistant coach under Bob Bradley with the Chicago Fire. Say what you will about Mr. Bradley but he is one of the top football minds North America has. With that said (and everything that comes with it), we have to assume that Mr. Soehn knowingly employed long ball tactics last night against a Crew team the returned to a 4-5-1 formation. Those kickball tactics almost worked against the Crew last night. Had it not been for Robert Warzchya, nearly frantically, changing his own tactics (that found Heinemann and Gaven up front for a spell) the result could have easily been different.

What viewers saw last night was an admitted inferior side opting to bypass and fire over a Crew team that was hellbent on controlling the mid-field. For the record; Firing Over is a term used in manufacturing. It's when you leave work early on Friday and head to the closest waterin' hole. So... there's that.

I was impressed with how the Crew responded under that type of pressure. Over the past couple years it has been proven that EST teams are at a disadvantage due to late start times. This one could have easily ended in a draw as precedent dictates. It took a lot of blocks and brilliant saves from Hesmer (including a blocked PK), but they did what they had to do against a team applying the kind of tactics Vancouver had decided upon.

It's hard to compile player ratings kind of thing during a game like this. Hesmer, of course, saved the day and the back line did what they had to. But in all honesty I'm going to have to go with the Crew Coach Mr. Robert Warzycha. He recognized what the Whitecaps were doing and tried to adapt. Maybe it took all subs available to him and at least three tactical formation changes but it worked in the end.

Speaking of the end.

I'm sure most have heard; A Mr. Cunningham finally got that magical goal that puts him one step closer to holding the lone spot atop the all time MLS record books. In doing so he surpassed the one and only Mr. McBride for the Crew franchise record of 63. Brian has 62.

Who are the Crew's other greatest goal scorers? Here are the top 5 in Crew history:

63:Jeff Cunningham
62:Brian McBride
44:Stern John
42:Edson Buddle
33:Guillermo Barros Schelotto

That's a damn impressive list. Wait, there's more. What about assists?

61:Robert Warzycha
45:Brian McBride
43:Jeff Cunningham
41:Guillermo Barros Schelotto
37:Brian Maisonneuve

Well. Warzycha. Doesn't look like anyone will be touching that one for a while.

I'll get to breaking down the greatest Crew players here soon but one thing I wanted to mention was that Chad Marshall will be making massive news next year for the Crew. He will be surpassing Mike Clark as the player with the most minutes ever in a Crew uniform.

Considering that the Crew are on a run that rivals DC United's in the league's early years, this may be an even higher honor then a team goals record. Be on the lookout. Barring injury or trade, it'll happen around this time next year.

Cunningham goal can be seen HERE.

For more information on the origins of the Long Ball and its place in English history look up Charles Reep and Charles Hughes. Or just read the English papers after Stoke wins against a 'superior' PL team. Lookin' at you Liverpool!

No comments: