Thursday, April 13, 2017

Rd 6: Missing Pieces = Loss

Columbus traveled to Bridgeview last weekend without three key starters and lost in an uneven match. Three wins was enough for Gregg Berhalter's side as he opted to look at the long term instead of a relatively meaningless early-season match.

Federico Higuain, Harrison Afful and Jonathan Mensah sat out the match for various non-serious injuries. From the outside, it looks like it was better to get them healed up versus risking further injury in a stadium that the team has never performed well in. The basic question was asked; "Do we need this game?" The clear answer was a firm "no."

It's likely the smart move considering the team just ripped off 9 points in the previous 3 games. The team proved they could play well and find themselves near the top of the table with breathing room. With no urgency to win the East or even the league, it is more about jockeying for a position near the top of the table and staying there.

What this tells is is the Berhalter is confident in his team at full strength and that he'll get the wins he needs on down the road. Time will tell if this is the correct approach. With 3 wins in 6 games, and the near fact that 12 wins will probably get his team into the playoffs, the team is in fine shape.

Pulling back to the bigger picture. MLS rosters are thin. Missing one key player sets you back. Missing three - you're done.

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