Sunday, March 20, 2016

Boring, Lethargic Crew SC Draw Fire

The end of last night's Columbus, Chicago MLS match was perfect. After 90 minutes of mostly nothing happening there was a flurry of effort from half of the Crew side while the other half was still in "let's get back home, no MLS next weekend" mode.

Games between these two up in Chicago have a recent tradition of being pretty bad. I'm not sure if it's because there aren't direct flights or the weather or the usually sparse crowd, but they are most always dull. Maybe it's a combination of things? In either case, last night's match fits right in with the rest. 

Most of the blame should go on to the Crew. Chicago is coming off a string of bad seasons, so it is expected that they would place a focus on defending when one of the best scoring teams from last year rolled into town. Gregg Berhalter and company likely knew this - but no adjustments were made and the team lacked significant energy. It led to a massively boring game, which is now three massively boring in a row.

Shawn Mitchell put it best in today's Dispatch... "Everybody was happy, except those who had to sit and watch it. Pity the 12,605 who did."


No question Columbus is in a post-MLS Cup Final loss funk still, but when should they snap out of it and how do they do it?

I looked at the "when" earlier this week and came to the loose conclusion that we will know if they are going to have a good or bad season by the 10th game or so. Looking at the math, Columbus has already dropped 8 pts out of their first three games. To match last season's start, they will need 13 pts from the next 7 games. Or; 1.86 points per game. Berhalter has topped that mark a couple times in a 10 game span before, so it is possible, but only if they put forth more effort in games.

Effort appears elusive right now, though. The is only one positional battle going on right now in the starting eleven (Justin Meram's left mid role) and virtually nothing going on when looking at players cracking the 18, down roster.

Compounding problems this year is that some key players got paid recently. Ethan Finlay, Kei Kamara and Federico Higuain to name the three most important. Some players, not all, regress a bit when they feel they've achieved their worth. Especially when there isn't anyone pushing them. Is this they case with these guys? Right now, absolutely. There is no reason to qualify that statement until they prove otherwise.

Columbus hasn't won a competitive MLS game, including preseason, since beating NY Red Bulls on November 22, 2015.

Next Crew game is sometime in April.

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