Sunday, April 27, 2014

Crew 1, NY 1 - Recap

M. Parkhurst and T. Henry, April 26, 2014. Source Photo: Rick Osentoski, USA Today Sports
Columbus and NY play to an early season draw on a cool evening at Crew Stadium.

1ST HALF (1-0)
NY had a great midweek game against Houston and looked to carry it over to this one in Columbus. They had 3-4 excellent chances, which was great for them, only problem was that Eric Alexander was the one taking them. He bungled a couple within the first 10 minutes that he should have finished.

Eventually, the Crew and Berhalter's possession process took hold of the match and things settled into a low speed kind-of affair. Chances were had but nothing got through either keeper.

Around the 40th minute Hector Jimenez ripped in a great cross from the right hand side that found Justin Meram right in front of goal. Meram was pulled down (I guess?) as his shot clanged off the top crossbar. A penalty was called. Jairo Arrieta stepped up and finished it.

2ND HALF (0-1)
Not a whole lot of change from the first half. Pace of the match was methodical (slow). It was pretty clear that NY wanted one but they didn't over do it (as they tend to do sometimes). This was their third game in 11 days so maybe it should have been expected.

In the 66th minute their efforts paid off and the goal came from a nice Lloyd Sam cross into Bradley Wright-Phillips (who's been in form). From there the Crew tried to stay on the ball as much as possible and pass NY into submission. It sorta worked and the game ended.

Just like the last few Crew home games this one lacked energy. Their appeared to be a large crowd on hand for the numerous discounted tickets and vending specials but that didn't really translate down to the play (for either side). Good tackles, pinpoint crosses, smart on the ball play got no noticeable cheers from the crowd. The only real energy from the crowd I really picked up on was open space runs of Dominic Oduro (who seems increasingly concerned with his hairdos week to week).

Opponents of the Crew are packing the middle and forcing the ball out to overlapping fullbacks (Josh Williams and Waylon Francis). While this plays into what the team wants to do, you also get two guys completely gassed by halftime. On top of tired legs there, you also have the simple fact that there isn't anyone to cross it in to.

Justin Meram was a serviceable replacement for suspended Bernardo Anor but, again, Meram isn't much of a midfielder (which has been covered at length on this site already).

Ultimately, a draw against NY is fine for the Crew but they do have to start getting three points in home matches. They are four games on now and only five points with a negative one goal difference. That puts them way towards the bottom.

The Crew were clearly a very prepared team going into the season. Catching a DC team that were still working on chemistry and a Philly team that is turning out to be, well... a Hackworth coached Philly team.

By just removing the 3-0 win in DC, Columbus drops firmly into mid-table if you only look at the last 6 matches. Combine that with below average home form and there is reason for some concern.

Overall however, the new coaching staff seems to be satisfied with the point total thus far as well as the direction things are going.

Next up for Columbus is Sporting KC away on Sunday, May 4th. A good performance down there will put some of my concerns back off to the side.

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