Saturday, October 20, 2012

Predictions: Crew v. DC (Rd. 33)

The Crew are in Washington, DC tonight to take on United. Cool fall temps should greet the 19k folks at RFK for the 7:30 PM EST start.

• Crew eliminated tonight if they fall to DC and Houston win against Philly
• DC hasn't lost at RFK since week 1
• DC Home last 5: 10 GF, 6 GA
• Crew Away last 5 is reverse of DC: 6 GF, 10 GA
• J. James did not travel to DC


New resource / tool this week (and probably only this week) is that I simulated 20 Crew v. DC EA FIFA 13 games. The fake Crew dropped 9 with 5 wins and 6 ties. Edge went to DC but painfully little scoring from other side. I picked up some interesting things from this exercise including, but not limited to, insanity. More at the bottom of this post.

(Here's a Meram goal in the meantime)

"I think [United] get their playoff ticket punched this weekend." No doubt in Drew Epperley's mind this week. Crew are going down 2:1.

Aaron Katzeman (Massive Report) believes, "A sell-out home crowd will help D.C. pick up a point."

The spry young fellows at Major League Soccer - Soccer government offices are leaning the way of DC. Not definitive though, two votes for Crew with one draw out of six.

Bet365 is in on a DC win (10/11 fav) and the "Your Vote" feature on WinDrawWin see's a Crew win only getting 14%. Incidentally, The Philadelphia Union are only getting the same 14% vote, and they are at home. The crisp tracksuits thinking the Eastern Conference playoff attendees will be settled tonight.

Adam Jardy (local Columbus Crew beat writer) again offers up a scenario on how the Crew can win, saying: "If Arrieta can make life difficult on United's central defenders and Higuain can find a wa..." ugh, forget it.

Here, let me save everyone out there loads of time next year with their game previews and matchups: "If Arrieta and Higuain play well tonight the Crew should see this one out."


Last I checked, Columbus suits up 18 players when the whistle blows. Has it gotten to the point in the magical land of Crewternia that the latest signings are always responsible for the Win and not the Loss?

Speaking of some other players contributing to the result, Columbus is again changing up the Center Back tandem because Julius James is out and Carlos Mendes is being pegged as the starter alongside Chad Marshall. Mendes has played well this year but I'd rather see someone who has gotten regular time on the pitch over the last month in that spot (Josh Williams or Danny O'Rourke) for a game as critical as this.

In order for the Crew to win against this DC team they must remain organized. Without De Rosario, DC has been sloppy, erratic and downright unwatchable. That said, they have been gutting games out recently and getting results. Like I said a couple posts ago, Columbus needs warriors, heart and hustle tonight over talent. If not? The Crew are going down... hard.

The vibe on this game is a DC win. With a home crowd and first time making the playoffs in however many years it seems almost a lock. Throw in recent noise about ownership changes in Columbus (again) and the annually occurring and absurdly timed "2012 Crew Team Awards Ceremony" next weekend on Tuesday(?!?) and you have a team that puts the good guys willing to fight at the bottom of a mountain with a 1 ton boulder in front of them.


So I simulated 20 Crew v. DC matches. Technically the Crew were playing home for all 20 because after a 5 sims on the road it became a grind, Crew were losing and not scoring.

Another thing I did to mix it up and keep it interesting was to change lineups in 5 game chunks. Example, 5 games with Robert Warzycha's normal formation and lineup then a set of games with my preferred lineup and so on. Honestly, didn't matter much who played, the results were about the same. Crew would win 1 in 5. The only line up that did better was one that lined up with one DM in a diamond MF featuring the "Costa Rica Connection" at the top (Olman Vargas and Jairo Arrieta). The managed 2 wins in 5.

All in all, spending however many hours watching the CPU battle it out was about a 3 on the 10 scale of video game fun. It got to be like groundhog day after a while mainly because only five times did both teams score in one game. By the time I was done, Columbus averaged 0.60 goals per game and DC 0.80, yeesh.

I tracked Results, Player Ratings, Team Passing and Possession. So for what it is worth, here are some stats from the sim:

Points Earned per Start (Best)
1.40: Finlay, Vargas, Justin Meram, Eric Gehrig
1.20: Mendes, Grossman

(Worst) 0.90: Birchall, Higuain, Marshall, Miranda 0.80: James

Team Goals For per Start (best)
0.70: Meram, Mendes, Grossman, Birchall, Miranda

Avg Game Rating (best)
6.8: Arrieta
6.7: Vukovic
6.6: Finlay, O'Rourke, Renteria, Birchall, Meram

Nobody had a positive GD. Finlay and Vargas did have an even one.

I guess if a conclusion is to be made from these 20 simulated games it is that if EA has anything to say with tonight's result, I'll be 0:1 DC. Free-flowing and fluid - it will not be, very fews goals, and Finlay does pleasantly well at Right Back.

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