Sunday, March 1, 2020

Crew Win '20 Opener, 3 Things (+1)

Opening weekend is here for the 2020 MLS season and much has changed across the entire league (again). More teams, brand new venues, changed rules, a new CBA, a Mexican initiative, the list goes on. But! Let us not carry that weight into what is finally here. Another Crew season filled with hopes and dreams of the forever optimistic Ohio Sports fan faithful.


At the bottom of this post will be some site housekeeping notes about coverage but for now... Let's get right to it. MY THREE THINGS

1. Jordan Angeli
Let's start with the booth. It's selfish of me, but as a long-suffering vet of MLS broadcasts this one is important. The former U20 USWNT standout and NWSL player was great. More than great, really. She read the game. She corrected Neil Sika, she genuinely got excited about skillful play OTHER than goals. She noted key moments in action that happened a few passes or tackles previous to positive action. She gets it. She was comfortable. Both Dwight Burgess (who she replaced) and Sika (who is paired with her now) were "Crew people" more than announcers. The game sometimes seemed to be a distraction from picking favorite players, selling the next game ticket package or rattling off Wiki notes on each player on the opposing team. Too comfortable. Too stale. Angeli is a breath of fresh air. If you were at that game and still haven't heard her, you are in for a treat.

2. Early Reds Ruin Games
The Red Card handed out in the 4th minute threw a wet blanket on things. Anytime this happens you know that you have already read the script of what's to come. To the letter of the law, yeah. It was a red. But in the first game of the season, within 5 minutes? Ahh, let it go. Let's have 11v11. That said, NYCFC looked good and organized in their role and the Crew looked pretty impressive in working the ball around, trying to get a good shot. Pedro Santos probably should have had one there early on. It would have put this game to bed in the first 30 minutes. Later, Luis Diaz missed a sitter. All in all, for the 1st game of the season, both teams should be alright with how it went down.

3. Crew Player Callouts
Lucas Zelarayan looked great. He plays with joy. He's also crafty in that he seems to know what the opponent in front of him will do, even if it isn't obvious. It happened on the goal when he took the touch towards goal and also another time when he won the ball from behind a CB in the 18. Milton Valenzuela. Wow. The knee injury has done nothing to slow him down. He looked fantastic in attack and defense. He was always where he should be. Artur and Nagbe looked fine in the first Crew game without Wil Trapp on the roster since October 2012.


With way too much MLS watched this weekend it's easy to say Columbus looked like one of the good teams. Organized, motivated, not arguing with each other, in shape. But, it could be argued, that came against a 10 man team for 85 minutes. Still though. LOTS of bad teams in MLS this year. Crew were among them last year. It doesn't appear that way this year.


We here at Helltown have tried different things over the years as far as covering the games. My personal favorite was when I wrote a graph or two about each half and then summed things up. I may try that again this year. We'll see. For now It'll just be a 3 things, uh, thing.

As I have since 2010, I will continue tracking player scores on my own rating system as well as keeping tabs on advanced stats and what's going on over at WhoScored.

Thanks for reading. Looking forward to a great season. My 11th writing about the Crew here at Helltown.

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