Sunday, August 4, 2013

Crew Rd 22, Lose and Open Space

Houston put away a Columbus team in limbo 3:1 last night.

Both teams came off the first whistle pretty sharp despite the reportedly oppressive 90+ degree heat. Setting aside the unfortunate foul in the box that Chad Marshall committed the first 25 minutes of this game saw the Crew playing just about as well as they can.

In that first 25 the Crew possessed well (which was opposite of what I expected) and ripped off four shots, two on target.

From there, though, some of the Crew players slowed and Federico Higuain started to show some early frustration. Moving on past the 25th, Houston started to gain supreme control of the match and were full of confidence.

Crew players just couldn't get to the ball as if in quicksand. In fact, the 2nd Houston goal was directly because of this. Boniek Garcia who basically toyed with Agustin Viana all night, dispossessed him and started a break on a slow Danny O'Rourke and slower Chad Marshall. It finished with Will Bruin, fresh off international duty, cutting across O'Rourke and finishing it nicely.

This was the 32nd minute when it happened and it appeared that some of the Crew players shut down part of their operations.

In attempt to get a shot of energy, Robert Warzycha subbed in a couple. One was Kevan George for Matias Sanchez and the other was draft pick Ryan Finley for Jairo Arrieta (unclear if Arrieta was injured).

While fresh is good, the double change predictably made the game a sloppy affair. In fact both team seemed to try and figure out what Warzycha did. This shows in general activity off the half time restart.

Both sides were ripping off about 5 passes per minute but in the restart after half the Crew dropped to 4 and the Dynamo 6. Sloppy possession for the Crew during this interval.

You could start to feel that the Dynamo would get another but before that happened Ryan Finley started to apply some real pressure to Houston defenders in the box. He got the ball in there a few times and tried to walk it in the goal. On one such time a Dynamo defender kicked it directly into his own net and the Crew pulled one back in the 75th minute.

Crew looked hungry for more but just didn't have the energy. Late in the match around the 85th minute Houston's Cam Weaver put it away from the top of the box and sealed it.


• The Crew didn't actually look as horrible as they did in previous handful of weeks. They had good spells of possession and really great opportunities. Houston certainly looked a better side but the Crew played alright on the 2013 Crew scale.

• Federico Higuain's frustrations. He needs to control them, especially now with an ownership change. Of course he is pissed and mad but to show it as much as he did last night (and frankly, over the past half year) is not acceptable for a leader. This is something that the team should have addressed ten games ago. But they didn't because the are conflict averse and now they have a massive issue on their hands.

• Fan reaction to the players last night on social media or even some of the media has me frustrated, even upset. They go from pointing fingers at coaches and the front office to blaming players in an instant. An important thing for some of these people out there to remember is the passing of Kirk Urso was one year ago this weekend.

I guess the soulless race to occupy the free space under Anthony Precourt's desk is officially on. For all those participating; let me know how that turns out.

• Finley's efforts inside the 18 yard box in the second half were oddly refreshing. He was taking too many touches all over the place but, well... two things about that (while I'm on lists):

1. It eventually lead to a Dynamo own goal.
2. Players can 'dribble' big 'keepers in MLS

You really don't see players trying to dribble the GK in MLS. It takes a ton of confidence and bad college habits (perhaps) but a lot of the keepers in MLS are big and slow and are mistake prone. Banging shots from 20 yds will not work (the Crew have proved that). Anyhow. Of course Finley took too many extra dribbles but I liked the activity.

• Oduro was pretty invisible most of the night, especially in the 2nd half. Would have liked to see him come charging off the bench in this one, especially with fresh legs in this heat. Would have been stealin' candy from a baby.

• Overall, Dynamo are a better team and the Crew are operating under a lot of distractions. Tough match.

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