Thursday, July 17, 2014

Sporting Don't Take Crew Seriously, Win Anyway

Sporting KC players seemed more interested in their botched travel itinerary than they did facing the Crew in Columbus last night. Hard to blame them after bits and pieces of various player tweets and instagrams started making it out to fans and press. On top of their travel problems, Peter Vermes (usually very animated but passive on the evening) and company didn't even travel a full road roster and only had six on the bench for the match.

Meanwhile, on the Columbus side of things, Coach Gregg Berhalter seems to be adrift at sea a bit as far as his own roster's situation and what to do with it. After trying what could be classified as a radical decision to play without a true forward to start, his team was out played (and out scored via goal right before half) which lead to a correction at the start of 2nd half by making two halftime subs.

The situation did improve for Columbus when AurĂ©lien Collin was sent off early in the 2nd for an elbow to Adam Bedell's face. Some positive wing play directly lead to an own goal by Sporting to put the Crew back level but the Crew couldn't sustain the attack from then on.

Lack of effort, discipline and quality talent in the closing seconds allowed Benny Feilhaber to rip a goal from distance to put SKC up 2-1 for good.

Columbus is already on their 2nd extended non-win streak of the season now with none in last 7 (last one was 8 winless before the win on 5-24). While some of the near and far term metrics are looking pretty bad, results are probably the least of Berhalter's worries at the moment as he needs to focus on keeping his team engaged, healthy and motivated or he likely risks an abrupt end to a short MLS administrative career.

• Crew 75% pass accuracy one of the lowest of the year, KC only completed 66%
• Feilhaber's strike was only real shot by either side. Game was a bit sloppy
• Daniel Paladini continued his forgettable season as he was curiously inserted into a CAM role behind a frustrated Higuain.
• Wil Trapp is suspended next game for persistent fouling.
• Berhalter opted to not insert fresh legs even when up a man in the 2nd half. Speas was option on the bench.
• The Crew take on another struggling team this weekend in Montreal.
• After this loss, Sports Club Stats has Crew chances of making the playoffs down near 25%.

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