Sunday, September 8, 2013

Crew Rd 28, Youth Proof

The Crew no match for Sporting KC on the road.

New interim coach Brian Bliss decided to keep things simple and run out the same lineup that pulled off a mildly surprising midweek upset over the Houston Dynamo. Major differences between these two games were two fold:

1. It was on the road and the Crew have completely collapsed away from home. Losing last 7 straight by a total of 15 goals.

2. Playing the best team in the the Eastern Conference (not missing a beat without Zusi or Beasler).

The game didn't start well as Wil Trapp caught the foot of a KC Benny Feilhaber in the box which sent Designated Player Claudio Bieler to the spot where he ripped one past Matt Lampson.

From there KC owned possession till the final minutes of the first half when they didn't really need it as much. It was a hot and humid evening so all the possession gassed the Crew players (who had all played on Wednesday).

In the 41st minute Barson, in what seemed like a mental lapse, lazily mis-touched a Eric Gehrig pass. The ball wound up with Claudio Bieler who found Sonny Saad who had no resistance from Barson or Gehrig and easily put it past an iffy looking Matt Lampson.

KC would never really relinquish their grip on this game and the Crew just slipped further and further out of it. Tony Tchani, subbed on at half for Ethan Finlay, provided some more energy in the middle but it was still miles away from what the team needed.

In the 54th minute Oriol Rossell would like an absolutely beautiful ball from 40 yards out to CJ Sapong in the 18 yard box. Tyson Wahl seemed powerless against him and Lampson wasn't able to get there on time.

The Crew were three goals to beaten at this point and were just out classed. In fact it took till nearly the 80th minute for the Crew to get an attempt that made it to frame.

Abysmal. That's the only way to explain the Crew on the road since the shockingly poor June 6th 3-0 loss in Philly.

The last four, in particular, have been horror shows.

2:1 at Toronto
3:1 at Houston
4:0 at Salt Lake
3:0 at Kansas City

Playing inexperienced players is the quickest way to get run over on the road. Chad Barson, Matt Lampson, Wil Trapp, Ethan Finlay, Ryan Finley would be done better by if they were able to be worked into a more experienced lineup. As it stands though, they are basically college players still.

With that, the experience they are gaining may be the most valuable takeaway for them right now. Whether or not it is for the best is not known. Fans will have to pocket this away and revisit in the coming years.

On top of young players you have the absence of Federico Higuain, the Crew's insistence in playing Dominic Oduro in the midfield, and keeping Jairo Arrieta guessing as to his role this year.

With the situation the Crew find themselves in it's difficult to know which way is up. With six games left in what will likely be seen as a transitional season - one thing is for certain; the stong will be separated from the weak.

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