Friday, February 15, 2013


Here's a preview of upcoming match with Orlando City with preseason Crew “first team / second team” observations.

Even with three games yet remaining it’s easy to say that the Crew have had a successful preseason. With five games behind them they have won four. Their last game, a 4:0 dismissal of the Philadelphia Union, was enough to calm some nerves heading into the start of the season.

Next up is a USL Pro side Orlando City that has handful of Major League Soccer level talent lead by Luke Boden (trialed with Chicago Fire this offseason), Kevin Molino (3 G, 7 A), Jamie Watson (5 G, 3 A), James O’Connor and Dennis Chin (a 6’3” forward who lead the league in goals last year with 11). Also listed on the 2013 roster is Tony Pulis, son of the Stoke City boss of which some worship.[updated: not listed]

This core group of players only lost one game last year in regular season play (17 W, 6 D, 1 L), easily the best record in the league with a +1.33 goal differential. No other team in the league was even close.

City, the unofficial host of this tournament, tied the Philadelphia Union 1:1 in the first game (goal by Chin) and lost to Toronto FC this past Wednesday on a 0:3 scoreline that deserved to be closer than it looks (City was better the 1st 60 minutes of that match).

The Crew have handled both common opponents in this tournament, beating Toronto 1:0 and Philly 4:0. This suggests that the Crew should have little to no problem with Orlando.

The Crew should handle them but which Crew crew will do the handling? The answer might surprise you. Might not.

A few weeks ago I took a good look at the advantage teams have that are able to return players from the previous year, preferably minute gainers. With five games gone in this preseason I can definitively say that the Crew have benefited from the players returning from last year’s team.

To compare how players have been performing this 2013 preseason I broke them up into four groups.


From there you can further shuffle into sub categories: 1st Team / With 2012 Crew, 1st Team Not. 2nd Team With and Not With. All totalled, 8 groups of players to compare.

The best performing group this offseason are 2nd Team Players / With 2012 Crew. They are averaging a +1.23 Goal Diff. Right behind them is the WITH 2012 CREW group, +0.92 GD.

The two underperforming groups are the players that were not with the 2012 team. It’s not surprising that the With 2012 / 1st Team players are performing below average as there are only 5 of them (a story which deserves its own post).

It’ll be interesting to see what the 2nd Team / With 2012 could do against other 1st teams this preseason, or perhaps a combined 1st and 2nd team of all players returning from last year, but it will not happen. Head Coach Robert Warzycha has made it pretty clear who the starters will be this season.

No comments: