Thursday, April 25, 2019

Crew Lose Again

Columbus lost 0-1 to DC United last night at Crew Stadium. It is their 3rd loss in a row and now only have 6 pts from their last 6 games. If 3 loses in a row looks strange to you, it's because it is. Only one other time in the past 5 seasons has it happened (early April last year).

It's pretty clear that the number one issue with the Crew is in goal scoring. It's probably the laziest analysis you can give about a team, but it honestly is with this group (saying "group" because this drifts into last season).

This isn't to say that "attacking play" isn't there as Columbus has all the necessary habits to create chances like possession, passing accuracy, balanced play, etc. All that stuff is fine. The problem arises when they start getting in and around the box for a good opportunity. Gyasi Zardes is basically a one tool guy. Look for him in front of the box and I'll get you an opportunity. Outside of that you have Justin Meram, Pedro Santos and Robinho trying to advance up and create opportunities, but it isn't happening. They are looking for the cross in to Zardes nearly every time and they need to get off that train.

The result? Columbus is not even getting off 4 shots on goal a game, near the bottom of the league.

The other issue we are seeing is that Artur seems to have drifted up to become more of a box to box central mid when he's not really that. It's taking touches away from Higuain, Santos and Meram/Robinho.

All in all, things with this team have gone flat. They are not terrible by any measure, just not great either.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Crew Lose at Home, Red Flags

Last weekend's game against previously last-place Portland Timbers proved to be more than just a loss. What we witnessed was a clear truth: Caleb Porter is not Greg Berhalter. And this team is starting to look a little frustrated.

The rare home loss for Columbus didn't do too much damage on the overall table as they only dropped one spot to 9th. It's pretty clear that this position is due to a home-heavy early schedule (5 of 8) at this point. Sorting the table by most home games shows us simply that teams with the most home games are higher up on the table.

2.57LA Galaxy7601137618
2.44Los Angeles FC97112571822
2.29Seattle Sounders FC7511159616
2.17Toronto FC64111811713
2.17Houston Dynamo6411138513
2.00FC Dallas8512149516
1.75DC United8422129314
1.63Philadelphia Union8413129313
1.63Columbus Crew841388013
1.43Minnesota United73131715210
1.38Orlando City83231213-111
1.38Montreal Impact8323814-611
1.29Chicago Fire7232121119
1.29Sporting Kansas City7232151149
1.25Real Salt Lake83141014-410
1.14New York City FC7151911-28
1.00FC Cincinnati8224813-58
0.88New England Rev.8215612-67
0.86San Jose Earthquakes72051017-76
0.83Atlanta United612358-35
0.71New York Red Bulls712489-15
0.63Vancouver Whitecaps8125611-55
0.57Portland Timbers7115918-94
0.25Colorado Rapids80261223-112


To start, Porter is a very stoic person that has a crappy "I'm disappointed in you" face or worse "just don't talk to me" demeanor. Leadership, coaching takes many types, but what comes off from him is, well, off-putting. It's been this way since he was in Portland. I don't think players particularly respond positively to it when the team is winning, so when it's not working things go in the toilet. Example here is when Robinho was subbed off for Justin Meram. Robinho just went straight to the bench and threw a fit. Porter just stood there, arms folded (a behavior that says stay away, which he does all the time). It's a small moment, but it's hard for guys with Porter's non-communicative style to rein in stuff like this. It'll fester.

A growing problem by the minute. 8 goals in 8 games and over half coming from central defenders and flukes. Goals come in all shapes and sizes, but Columbus is getting zero from open play. Teams seem to know what's coming as well. Prevent crossing opportunities and you beat the Crew.

Hard to say where the support is. The excuse could be that the new ownership group just needs to find their footing, but it's likely more a hangover from the intensity of last year combined with Blue Jackets fever. On a side note - we haven't heard much, if anything, about new stadium plans. Momentum has come to a crashing halt.

Crew are back at it again tonight. DC. Keeping an eye on player body language.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Crew 8th on MLS True Table

With some teams hitting 7 games, we are slowing climbing our way to a better understanding of good and bad in MLS.

Here's the combined true table as of today:

2.71Los Angeles Football Club19761021516
2.67Seattle Sounders FC1665101459
2.60Houston Dynamo1354101266
2.50LA Galaxy1565011165
2.00Toronto FC1053111486
2.00D.C. United1474211275
1.86FC Dallas1374121284
1.86Columbus Crew SC137412752
1.67Minnesota United FC10631214113
1.57Montreal Impact117322811-3
1.50Sporting Kansas City962311477
1.43Philadelphia Union107313990
1.14Orlando City SC872231113-2
1.14FC Cincinnati87223810-2
1.00Chicago Fire66132810-2
1.00Atlanta United FC5512246-2
1.00Real Salt Lake77214714-7
0.83New York Red Bulls56123880
0.83New York City FC56051711-4
0.57New England Revolution47115512-7
0.50San Jose Earthquakes36105616-10
0.33Vancouver Whitecaps FC26024510-5
0.29Colorado Rapids270251119-8
0.17Portland Timbers16015617-11

What jumps out to me is the complete lack of scoring in Crew games. Also, 3 of their 7 have come from set pieces.

Combined Goals pGameTeam
4.40Toronto FC
4.29Colorado Rapids
4.17Minnesota United FC
3.83Portland Timbers
3.71Los Angeles Football Club
3.67San Jose Earthquakes
3.60Houston Dynamo
3.50Sporting Kansas City
3.43Orlando City SC
3.17Seattle Sounders FC
3.00Chicago Fire
3.00Real Salt Lake
3.00New York City FC
2.86FC Dallas
2.83LA Galaxy
2.71D.C. United
2.71Montreal Impact
2.67New York Red Bulls
2.57Philadelphia Union
2.57FC Cincinnati
2.50Vancouver Whitecaps FC
2.43New England Revolution
2.00Atlanta United FC
1.71Columbus Crew SC

The worst team in the league comes to town this weekend. Could get Columbus back on track, in terms of goals.