Monday, November 2, 2020

Crew Caution lost the Supporters' Shield

It's easy to see how close the Columbus Crew came to winning the Supporters' Shield this season. Just one more win, or even a draw, would have put them right there on the last day of the season. As it stands, with two games left they are six points off Toronto and Philly.

Philly would have to lose their remaining game to New England by a couple goals and Columbus would have to beat Orlando and Atlanta by multiple goals each to make up the 7 goal difference. Possible? Of course. Likely? No. Toronto would also have to lose and Columbus wins both their remaining games. The Crew have a GD edge on them.

It has to be a bit frustrating when looking at the different ways the Crew could have won this. The mini-slump towards the end, injuries or not, was just enough to put this team off the pace. 

The good news, however, is that the team was very cautious with injuries and that set them up for an MLS Cup-winning run. 

Tim Bezbatchenko could afford to have a clear-eyed view of priorities in MLS before coming to Columbus. After a successful run in Toronto (unlimited MLSE funds, in MLS terms) is a luxury that he doesn't have in most other MLS markets, let alone Columbus. Especially moving forward after this year when money gets tighter.


Part of me thinks Columbus held back on putting out full strength rosters (just a gut feel) and gave too much time to players not quite ready for MLS. In a normal season where they are bopping around the middle of the table, that is fine. But when you are the lead horse in winning the Supporters' Shield? Go for it, because I don't think it'll come around again for a while.

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