Saturday, June 4, 2016

"Lost Opportunity"

2016 Crew Season
Gregg Berhalter appropriately called it a "lost opportunity" after Philly took care of an off balance Crew SC last Wednesday, June 1st. He went on to talk about proving they could play with anyone if they could knock of East-leading Union.

A big part (biggest) part of Columbus not earning 3 points in last night's game was that it would have allowed them to get off the mat heading into the Copa America break.

Had they won they would have moved to mid-table for the back half of the season. The sweet spot. At least in MLS. It's the place that ensures that you can absorb a couple losses in a row or a bad run in five. When you are at the bottom, as Crew SC currently are, you cannot. A bad couple weeks or month will effectively end your season.

That's the lost opportunity that I see.

MLS claims that part of the charm of the league is that you can zoom up and down the table all year long. It's a myth. The combined "True Table" (a normalized Points per Game) debunks that. The zooming up and down is largely due to breaking the league up into two tables of 10 and keeping Games Played by each team all over the place.

This simple slight of hand has become an MLS staple for years. Don't let it fool you. It doesn't fool most coaches and it certainly doesn't fool Gregg Berhalter and Anthony Precourt.

League critics will point to how meaningless the MLS table actually is. I've talked about it many times here on this site, It's mostly true. There's no real battle a the very top and teams aren't hanging on every point earned, hell, every moment in every game like more structured leagues.

However, there is a fight to be fought in getting to the middle. Bouncing around the bottom, at this point in the season, as Columbus is, is a very bad place in MLS. Nobody made it out last year. It's a season killer. Career killer. And attendance suck going into the hay making time in MLS (the summer part of the season till NFL starts).

Crew SC have a few weeks to sort it out. The next five will go a long way as far as shaping the rest of the season.

This franchise has been here before, and recently. Just under different management. Back in 2012 the team was down in the bottom four or five during the first half. It took a Federico Higuain and a blazing hot Jairo Arrieta to even get them back into the hunt by season end. They missed out.

I don't think it will take a couple A+ signings for 2016 Columbus to get back into this. That was a once a decade thing for a team on a budget. It'll take concentration, practice and effort to form into it's own identity (especially without Gaston Sauro). This Columbus can't play like a Kei Kamara led one. Nor can it play like the pretty one we saw in 2014.

It'll have to be its own thing. The players on the team are more than serviceable to make mid-table MLS. The solution is out there. Can they find it?


Ken M said...

I think that 90% of it hinges on either getting or developing another decent quality CB. Whether it be a new player, Saravia, Barson, etc., just gotta get someone up to MLS backup quality in case of injury.

Larry W Johnson II said...

Yeah. Wahl kinda fits the bill if there is a number one (outside of Sauro, but I think he's out for the year). I don't have a whole lot of confidence in the Wahl / Parkhurst lineup at CB for more than a few games, especially in the playoffs.