Monday, July 2, 2012

Crew Rd 15, Win Storm (RSL)

Something called a "super derecho" tore across Central Ohio on Friday night leaving over half a million without power on a hot and humid 90 degree night.

Among those without power Friday night:

1. The hotel where Real Salt Lake was staying.
2. Me.

Among those with power Friday night:

1. Kyle Beckerman (didn't travel due to card accumulation)
2. Not me.

By the next day, like most in the Central Ohio area, Crew Stadium was still without power but the local electric company was able to get things up and running and the match was only delayed by 1 hour.

The Crew went on to win this game 2:0.

Columbus seemingly ambushed RSL right from the first whistle. I was sitting low and on the north end so had a good view of the Crew Defensive line of Nemanja Vukovic, Josh Williams, Julius James and Sebastian Miranda and the RSL attack of... which included nobody. Columbus was rarely threatened.

Emilio Renteria seemed to have a speed advantage against the RSL backline (playing too high for a group that got no sleep) and he took it. In the 16' minute Renteria took off on a run down the right side and played a quick low ball across the mouth of goal that found Tony Tchani for a goal. Thirty minutes later Eddie Gaven finished a similar cross in from Josh Williams from a corner by Chris Birchall. It was the 44th minute to be exact. A time when tired teams give up goals.

I moved to a better vantage point so I could see the full pitch but not a whole lot happened offensively. Columbus did stay positive and probably deserved another goal. RSL looked slightly more dangerous but generated nothing near good enough to beat Andy Gruenebaum.

• Josh Williams completely frustrated one of the best players in the league in Fabian Espindola (6 goals, 3 assists on the year). He pushed him, tackled him, talked at him. Eventually Espindola was shown yellow and had to be subbed. Excellent performance by Williams.

• Danny O'Rourke... not many mentions of him for Man of the Match but he put in his best game of the year. Without Beckerman to counter him Danny controlled the middle and snuffed out just about every build up RSL tried to muster. I'm not sure I've seen a more dominate central defending performance this year from any player. CDM is such a key spot for what the Crew does. They need O'Rourke to stay healthy.

• Hard to find any week spots for the Crew after this one. Aaron Shoenfeld was pretty ineffective and tired easily, I suppose. It’s also important to note that he started over a healthy and higher paid Olman Vargas.

When it came time for subs and Milovan Mirosevic came on I took note of a warming up but visibly frustrated Justin Meram and Olman Vargas. Once Kevan George came on it got a little more awkward as Vargas dropped his head and Meram started kicking plastic practice cones while getting encouragement from Eric Gehrig. Meram eventually came on for Renteria but only due to Renteria’s insistence on coming out. After the game Adam Jardy of the Columbus Dispatch noted that Reneria did not stick around for the postgame.

Not trying to turn this club into a soap opera but I manage a group of folks that balloons up past 100 often so I can’t help but notice attitudes in a work place and how employees react to change (Kevan sub being the change in this case).

A storm in the form of Chad Marshall returning to his assigned spot next to Julius James which, in turn, leaves Josh Williams out. A very popular, ticket selling / featured on the inside of the program, Josh Williams. Never underestimate the drawing power of an Ohioan on the team… especially talented one from NE Ohio.

Hopefully my power comes back on so I can tease apart the numbers on the Crew’s upcoming Center Back controversy competition.

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