Sunday, November 8, 2015

Shutout Needed, Wild One Expected

uh oh
Throughout the season, Columbus Crew SC have been one of the more entertaining and satisfying MLS teams to watch. Playing an attacking type of possession game has pushed this year's team towards the top in the goal scoring category. Second overall, actually. That comes from being fifth in shots per game and first in those on target.

With all that attacking comes a rather leaky defense. Looking past the two late season shutouts the Crew posted against Toronto and DC in the last two games of the regular season, the team was only able to blank one team in the previous 26 matches (Chicago on August 15th). 

Anyone paying attention should know that discounting late regular season games is important. A lot of bad decisions are made over the course of late-season runs of form. Think of the Columbus Blue Jackets late last year when they had nothing to lose or the Colorado Rapids this year in MLS. Last minute efforts when other teams are winding down and / or prepping for the postseason leads many a team GM or President astray. It's fool's gold.

The addition of Gaston Sauro to the Crew defense might be more about timing than anything. Sauro is a good player, but one person is not able to turn a poor defensive team into a good one. Montreal had no trouble getting quality opportunities last weekend with a full strength Crew backline.

Montreal has outright beaten Columbus three times this year already, outscoring them by 5 goals even though they've dominated by the Crew in terms of possession and shots. Interesting note: the Impact have taken 12 fewer shots (29-41) but gotten 6 more on target (18-12). 

The first two games between these two were similar. Lots of opportunities for Columbus but poor finishing. Last match things changed a bit. Crew controlled the ball but were shut down offensively. Were it not for a somewhat right-place, right-time Higuain, the Crew could be looking at a much different game today.

A Crew shutout win would be incredibly impressive, considering. I don't think it will matter who scores first this evening. Goals will happen in this match. When the first one goes in, hold on.

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