Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Rd 9: Season Settles In

Reg season intensity level
We have reached the part of the season where players are in game shape and hitting, for better or worse, some kind of form. Goals are better. Interplay is better. Overall, just better. So when two teams that attempt to prepare and play a specific style (instead of just running around out there) it opens up.

This was the case when NYCFC traveled to Columbus last Saturday to take on Crew SC. 

It isn't to say that the game was a thing of beauty or one to remember. The defending by both teams was poor. It was more fun than many of the other games, but in the end, it was just a game that marked 1/4 of the season complete.

Columbus lost. They are working through injuries and lack of chemistry that comes with that (Mensah and Artur the two key guys there), are not settled in the right midfield and have a player kicking up dust about playing time. All these things are ingredients needed to give up leads in games.

These same ingredients are used in making a team mediocre, which seems to be the case with Crew SC at the moment. There is just too much noise right now for the team to be anything but average. 

With a quarter of the season complete we are now entering the patchy summer portion of the calendar where teams without depth (ie. most MLS teams) have wild quality swings game to game. Gregg Berhalter and crew will do their best to keep it together and above the playoff line. Which, now that that is typed, seems all that this season will be about.

Of note: Abu, Trapp, Mensah and Naess did not click in this game. The quality of play between these four is critically important to the success of Crew SC. It's not to say these players are not good, but there are concerns about turnover game to game. Stability is needed in order for it to work well.

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