Sunday, June 24, 2012

Crew Rd. 14, Lost (in CHI)

A critical loss in Chicago last night for the Columbus Crew that may end up having important playoff ramifications as the Eastern Conference race heats up.

Right off the first whistle the Chicago Fire took advantage of an odd and disjointed Crew starting 11 by scoring two goals in the first 26 minutes.

The game wasn't much of a contest until the Fire went down a man around the half hour mark as Gonzalo Segares recklessly tackled Kevan George. Moments later, with a man advantage, Tony Tchani pounced into the box and whipped a low curving blast past the otherwise solid Fire keeper.

Chicago spent the remainder of the half playing as if the game were 11 on 11. Often creating dangerous chances and trying to catch a desperate Crew side on a break.

Frank Klopas came out of the halftime break confident and continued to play the Crew as if evenly staffed but as the half wore on and Columbus started inserting fresh legs, he settled back.

The Crew generated more than enough chances to pull this one back even but it just didn't happen. When the game ended it seemed as though this was a very comfortable win for the shorthanded Fire.


The Crew are four months into the season, playing a Eastern Conf rival and Robert Warzycha starts two 2012 first timers last night in Chris Birchall and Julius James. Birchall, just back in the country after his wedding in England, previously had only seen 24 minutes this year in league play and James has only seen action during the US Open Cup match where he was embarrassed twice for goals as the Dayton Dutch Lions marched to victory.

To add to the disjointedness of this line up, Columbus also subbed in a couple guys who haven't seen much action in the last (6 game unbeaten) month in Aaron Schoenfeld and Olman Vargas.

Cole Grossman and Eric Gehrig, two instrumental players that have contributed to the previous six unbeaten games, sat on the bench. Benardo Anor, another important piece, didn't even crack the top 18.

Just got myself all worked up after writing about that lineup stuff and I'm not even getting to Birchall playing advanced. What the hell, man.

Eric is contributing to success on this team in a big way. He stays healthy, is a team player and earns positive results when he plays. He also gels perfectly with Josh Williams.

Personally, I was heartbroken that Gehrig didn't get out there to play. Outside of the reasons I just gave, I know that he is from the Chicago area as well.

I understand the leadership tactic Warzycha is employing with his players and it worries me. It's a negative technique that keeps poor managers in control over their group but it harms overall productivity. It'll also alienate the manager from his peers. This is a train you can seen coming from miles away and it is unfortunately manifesting itself in the steady erosion of year over year key performance metrics.

As in, Asshole for not playing Gehrig.

Yet again, for Robert Warzycha, it's the shitty lineup selection that was the reason the Crew couldn't keep up with 10 man Chicago Fire side. It's a problem that has been following Warzycha since he started and needs to improve because as the Crew sit they are in a knockdown, drag out battle for that last playoff spot.

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