Thursday, September 6, 2012

Crew Round 27. Money Talks in Loss

The Columbus Crew hot streak of six unbeaten was cooled off by a New England club who hadn't won any in their last ten.

The Gillette Stadium turf made this a difficult watch from the outset but 1st year New England coach Jay Heaps had this team ready to go. His team was fully motivated and fearless in their approach to the Crew.

The Crew, on the other hand, seemed lethargic and borderline disinterested. The Revs deserved a goal in the first half but it didn't happen. Plenty of chances, but poor finishing from the rebuilding Eastern Conference club.

The Revs got the goal they earned in the 53' (Congolese new boy Dimitry Imbongo) off some sloppy defensive play in the 18 yard box. From there the Crew still couldn't seem to get in the mood. 20 minutes of soccer balls skipping off the turf passed before Chad Marshall fumbled a headed back pass over the head of a charging Andy Gruenebaum and directly into his own net.

The final 15 minutes saw only one flurry of activity from the Crew and Federico Higuain's indoor soccer shoes. Game over. 0:2 Revs.

For the 2nd straight week Columbus started their "A" team. By that I mean; the highest paid. The only player in the top 13 on the club not to get a look is Olman Vargas. From there, the only players making over $100k to sit out where the injured Carlos Mendes and recently fined Julius James.

Last night's Crew "A" team values out at $2.2 million dollars* in annual guaranteed salary. New England's starting salary came in at under $1 million. Those numbers probably don't compute if you are a regular Crew club watcher.

Coming off a crowded August schedule Crew Coach Robert Warzycha banked on squeezing one more ounce of magic against a very weak side. It didn't work. In fact, the plan failed miserably.

20/20 hindsight, but you know what team could have given Crew fans something to cheer for and for less then half the cost ($900k)?

GK: Andy Grunebaum
RB: Eric Gehrig
CB: Josh Williams
CB: Danny O'Rourke
LB: Nemanja Vukovic
DM: Cole Grossman
RM: Justin Meram
CM: Eddie Gaven
LM: Ethan Finlay
CF: Aaron Schoenfeld
ST: Ben Speas

Plenty of excuses for the Crew last night... Heavy legs, bad playing surface, normal distribution of data. Fact remains thus: Championship teams with special players don't lose games like last night.

Disappointing not to see Williams in starting lineup.

* No official word on Federico Higuain's salary. I used $350k, which is the hit the Crew will take to salary cap next year with him on the roster.

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