Monday, May 13, 2019

Crew Realities Setting In

Now that the season is about 1/3 of the way in we can take a step back now as the fog of the early season has lifted. In some regards, it is a little more fun than in the past because there are more teams and therefore it is easier to say "well, this team is great and this team sucks" with a little more certainty than when there are fewer teams.

2.25Los Angeles FC128312982127
2.11Houston Dynamo96121710719
2.00Seattle Sounders FC116412013722
1.92Philadelphia Union1272323121123
1.92DC United127231711623
1.83LA Galaxy127141816222
1.70Atlanta United10523128417
1.64New York City FC114611512318
1.60Toronto FC105142217516
1.55FC Dallas115241614217
1.54Montreal Impact136251519-420
1.36Minnesota United114341918115
1.33Chicago Fire124441913616
1.27New York Red Bulls114251614214
1.23Columbus Crew135171218-616
1.18Real Salt Lake114161520-513
1.09Orlando City113351317-412
1.09Vancouver Whitecaps113351114-312
1.00San Jose Earthquakes113261422-811
1.00Portland Timbers103161321-810
1.00Sporting Kansas City102441919010
0.92FC Cincinnati123271018-811
0.85New England Rev.133281431-1711
0.18Colorado Rapids110291630-142

With that, let's get to...


1. LAFC has a really good team. Despite the post-game comments by Crew HC Caleb Porter saying the team is improving and were in it, they were not. LA was on the road, didn't have much trouble scoring the opening goal and sort of just held serve until Columbus rolled over and LA dropped another couple goals on them.

It's pretty clear that Porter came into the season wanted to play a similar style as Gregg Berhalter. And guess what? It worked! A strong start to the season was the result. The problem with what Berhalter did is that it takes constant care and getting buy-in from players. AKA hard work and a fair higher understanding of the game, which comes from experience (particularly outside of MLS). Porter doesn't have that. So once a couple losses came he decided to switch it up and go his own way. More direct and using speed (the signing of MLS speedster vet David Accam) to get behind defenders. To each his own - and Porter has a right to do whatever he wants as coach, but the league has moved on from this type of play. He'll nab one here and there, but it is not sustainable over a season. Meaning; Mid-to-low table finish.

Crew are 2nd to last in goal scoring out of 24 teams. Only Cincy is behind them. Again, Porter seems to be working on some masterplan that apparently takes 6 losses out of 7 games, but there is no excuse, absolutely none, to be this low in the league. Also, look at NYCFC as an example of switching things over. They stayed disciplined - it was a rough start to the season but we see the fruits of that labor now.

Finally, I know I'm beating up on Porter this season. I've never met him personally and I'm sure he's a good guy. The community is small here so if people are voicing displeasure from dark corners of the city he probably hears it. That said - something isn't quite right. Even when at Portland and he won a Cup it was there. This sort of thing manifests itself in public ways. You could see it when he couldn't get the U-23's to the Olympics (losing to Canada and then not being able to beat El Salvador) and then when he purposely went after Bayern in an All-Star Game (so bad Pep refused to shake his hand afterward) and again when he abruptly left Portland with no other options and in the same year he signed a new long term deal with the team.

It's possible he marches to the beat of his own drummer. He's had great success in coaching. At Akron and in Portland, so he knows how to win. Just something doesn't feel right in Columbus. Who knows, maybe he gets a player or two this summer and they turn it around.

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