Tuesday, October 27, 2020

PREVIEW: Does Columbus have the intestinal fortitude to be competitive these next four games, playoffs?

                                      


COLUMBUS CREW (10-4-5)- 35 POINTS / GF: 31 GA: 16 

                                                                         VS. 



D.C. UNITED (4-10-6)- 18 POINTS / GF: 19 GA: 34

Columbus Crew have four games left beginning with two straight win D.C. United on the road tomorrow. 

Columbus comes into the game far more healthier than the last month where they've mucked through their MLS schedule at 1-3-2. Nagbe, Zelerayan, and Room all played a role in the last game finally.

Regardless some recent results should have been avoidable. 

Two of Columbus's three losses over the last month were against the 23 point Montreal Impact at home and dead last 16 point FC Cincinnati. 

The Columbus Crew have basically relegated themselves from The Seagram's MLS Regular Season Trophy or whatever one wants to call The Supporters Shield now.

Can't change that last month. 

Instead what I want to see is more of an intent to be competitive these next four games consistently.

  
Less of this


And at least TRY to make the Continental Tire Regular Season Title battle interesting. 

Crew have one more game left compared to both Toronto FC and the Philadelphia Union. In addition, the Crew still play the Philadelphia Union. 

What Columbus can't do these next four games is be alright tying the 18 point DC United, like they did with the 21 point Houston Dynamo on Saturday. They can't have Pedro Santos missing the target completely on wide open nets. They can't be outshot 24-8. 

The Crew need to take advantage of other teams missteps, if they occur, these next four games. If there is another Philadelphia-like demolition of TFC get four points back instead of six.

I don't think both Philadelphia and Toronto are capable of combusting which is fine. 

What would be a positive start instead is Columbus being capable of winning on the road. Haven't done that this year except in the neutral bubble. They'll have to in the playoffs.

Also beat inferior opponents. Lately couldn't do that to Montreal Impact, FC Cincinnati, or Houston Dynamo. The Crew's first playoff opponent will likely be slightly inferior. 

3rd place is great, would take that finish position at the beginning of the season. 

3rd place isn't quite as great when you were in 1st by five points a month ago. 

However, if the Columbus Crew finish this regular season strong and are capable of battling in these playoffs as we await our new stadium I'll be content. 

Would be nice if it wouldn't be too wild to expect a bit more. But is still debatable if this 2020 Crew has the intestinal fortitude, has been missing lately.

CREWTURE'S COLUMBUS LINEUP:



Without Luis Diaz's contribution the last game to about force the Houston own goal on his own we are over two games back, still at 34 points with a loss. 

Without that point probably already out of the Target Regular Season Shield at 7 points back instead of 6. Diaz looked like he came on the field looking for a goal. That beat most of the Crew who seemed unsure what they were looking for? 

That kind of impact deserves a result. 

Diaz would be replacing Santos for a game. Prior to the last game, Santos looked great recently. But the two misses on wide open nets against Houston was a bit...



The Crew rest other people on three day breaks between games, perhaps he could use one? 

What happened to Cadden by the way? Thought he was pretty good and Afful could use a rest once in a while too.

And behind Nagbe, perhaps Zelerayan (if he could ever be on the field enough to get in a groove) I feel actually Mokhtar is our next best midfielder.

Kind of hard to be on the field consistently when we have 14 guys battling for the last midfield spot. Mokhtar definitely doesn't get the respect. 

RESULT: I'm done predicting road wins so maybe we will win. 2-2 TIE.






Wednesday, October 14, 2020

To get season back on track, Columbus need to step up again versus "rivals"

 

Zardes gets back on track with the Golden Boot, defense gets back on the shutout track, and Columbus says "not so fast my friend" on Toronto FC's Supporters Shield.




COLUMBUS CREW (9-3-4)- 31 POINTS / GF: 26 GA: 12 

                                                                         VS. 





FC CINCINNATI (3-10-4)- 13 POINTS / GF: 8 GA: 27

Columbus may be coming across FC Cincinnati again at just the required time. 

Seventeen days ago, the Columbus Crew went into the Toronto FC game five points ahead of Toronto FC for the Supporters Shield.

Columbus started that game skillfully with a 1-0 lead and then appeared to forget to leave the locker room at half time.

Columbus were dismantled in the second half allowing three goals. Toronto FC hasn't looked back since and Columbus hasn't looked forward.

That five point Supporters Shield lead, has turned into a current six points back of Toronto and three behind the Philadelphia Union. 

Columbus has a game in hand on both but needs to make a readjustment back to their previous course now. 

Earlier in the year the Columbus Crew dealt with injuries, but haven't dealt as well navigating without Darlington Nagbe. 

Injuries look the same for tonight.


Yet one team may have the injuries even worse.

Cincinnati Injury Report:
  • OUT: Maikel van der Werff (D) - undisclosed injury
  • OUT: Greg Garza (D) - undisclosed injury
  • OUT: Przemyslaw Tyton (GK) - undisclosed injury
  • OUT: Jurgen Locadia (F) - undisclosed injury
  • OUT: Kendall Waston (D) - undisclosed injury
  • OUT: Mathieu Deplagne (D) - undisclosed injury
As FC Cincinnati are without their starting goalkeeper, at least two of their best defenders and have lost four straight. 

The Columbus Crew in three matches against FC Cincinnati in 2020 so far have a 7-0 scoreline and three shutouts. 

In those previous 2020 matchups, FC Cincinnati had the above players except Locadia for #MLSIsBack.

Tonight could be the confidence boost the Columbus defense needs. 

In the first 13 games the Columbus backline allowed 5 goals, in the last three games Columbus has allowed 7. 

FC Cincinnati has acquired a new forward on loan from 1899 Hoffenheim II. A Croatian youngster yet to score for any first team in Franko Kovacevic. But Kovacevic won't play a part yet. 

FC Cincinnati recently created a "partnership" with TSG Hoffenheim. 

Hoffenheim received about all they will from that union in picture below. 

Two FC Cincinnati jerseys. 



Franko regardless appears unlikely to fire FC Cincinnati to 10th place and the playoffs with the below scoring record. 


Yet hopefully a little more dangerous than Yuya Kubo. As Columbus won't play again anyway this year. 

For Columbus I just want to see a little more passion, effort and a win.

LINEUPS:




GAME RESULT: Gyasi Zardes likes to score against FC Cincinnati. Slow first half, either 0-0 or 1-1. But, I'll say Gyasi Zardes gets two goals in the game. 2-0 at Nippert. 




Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Does Nemeth acquisition foretell a move to 4-4-2?

 


I'm sure the acquisition of Krisztian Nemeth wasn't for fun, out of boredom by Tim Bezbatchenko. Yet, some have said it's an unnecessary acquisition. One such example.

From that article:

Krisztian Nemeth comes from playing in the Slovakian league where he did not score a goal this season. During his time in MLS at Sporting Kansas he scored only 9 goals in 34 games, that is, one goal every four games. Not only did he play for Sporting Kansas in the MLS, but in the 2017-2018 seasons he played 21 games with New England Revolution where he only scored 1 goal.

But always a player I saw and never thought a bad player. 

In addition, for a player I would consider capable his prior stats may remind one of Gyasi Zardes before joining the Columbus Crew. 

Zardes in his 72 prior games before Columbus had 14 goals. 

In 76 games since, Zardes has 41 goals. 

The one thing is Zardes, just like any striker, is going to have a few games where the goals are not going in at an as productive clip. 

Often not because of any fault of his own. 

Zardes scored the last game but Unkel decided his toenail was offsides so reversed an unobvious wrong.

Yet if Zardes is not scoring, the goals are not usually coming in at a productive clip from somewhere else. 

Columbus Crew need a second solid scoring option and not off the bench for ten minutes.

But also I don't think the answer is one defensive midfielder like the last game as we can't possess otherwise. Think Morris gets the nod as the second DM tonight. 

I don't know if a second striker is the correct call? Or perhaps Nemeth on the wing. As can he track back and play defense?

Instead, for example, when Zelarayan is out as an attacking midfielder perhaps Nemeth could be a withdrawn forward in replacement. 

Instead of the obvious call as a second forward off the bench where no other forward can ever succeed or get the chance to succeed for Columbus. 

In that scenario game is already usually decided... Which leads to the impact that Adi has had or Hamiliton, Berry with a lot of game watching. Or Mullins, McIneriney, Romario Williams, Jahn, JJ Williams, David Accam, and etc. with their game watching. 

The Crew need other successful formations and options. They need to change things up now, liven it up in a different way successfully when needed. 

Toronto has the Supporters Shield momentum now and that isn't changing unless Columbus has the ability to change properly when needed. 

When other teams have the Columbus Crew 4-2-3-1 figured out with no Zelarayan and Zardes locked up, Columbus has no other answers currently. 


Sunday, September 27, 2020

Game Preview: The biggest game for Columbus Crew in 2020 regular season

 





COLUMBUS CREW (9-1-3)- 30 POINTS / GF: 22 GA: 5 

                                                                            VS. 




TORONTO FC (7-2-4)- 25 POINTS / GF: 21 GA: 14

"They’re a superclub, and they’re definitely favored in the game," said Porter prior to today's game against Toronto FC.

Not sure if Caleb Porter is trying to pull an Adrian Heath in the #MLSIsBack tournament or really believes that?

Toronto FC does have the highest payroll in Major League Soccer. But no longer have Bezbatchenko and several other key staff members who are now in Columbus. 

I'm guessing this is a game they've circled.

Also a game the Columbus Crew team has circled. 

It's their first big opponent since defeating the Philadelphia Union at home. 

Also a good performance can lead to more respect for Columbus. 

Over 1/3rd of Columbus's points this year were gained against Cincinnati and Chicago. 

With a win, Columbus would be 8 points over Toronto and may gain more distance between Philadelphia and Orlando.

In my opinion, all that matters is to keep on winning.

Also this is the only time during the regular season that the two teams will meet.

Columbus are capable, just need to make it happen.

LINEUPS:




Toronto FC will be without Michael Bradley and Auro Jr. Columbus Crew will be without Darlington Nagbe and assuming Alashe as well as left last game in 19th minute with injury. 

Berhalter may be a better fit next to Artur as Artur and Alashe are similar players. 

RESULT: 2-1 Columbus

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Game Preview: Stories of legends past

 


Quite simply everyone can agree that Ethan Finlay is a Columbus Crew legend.


And although one could not agree with Kei Kamara's antics... I would say his blazing 2015 puts him in the category too.


He had a disagreement on a penalty kick with Federico Higuain in 2016 that led to his dismissal, (yet happens as the Chicago Fire recently had themselves) and can you really fault a goalscorer for wanting to be the man?


Gregg Berhalter sided with Federico Higuain and eventually so did all Crew fans.


Can still honor what Kei brought that year to the black and gold. No?


Columbus have left the Orlando bubble still hot and despite eliminating the Columbus Crew in the knockout rounds in Orlando earlier this year Minnesota has left the bubble tepid.


Nevertheless, Porter calls Minnesota "one of the best tests we've had since Philadelphia." 


Adrian Heath (always one to stoke the coals) expects Kamara to have a big presence on and off the field.


I would just like to see Columbus Crew fans cheer him instead of boo him. As the great Queen Elza sung "Let it goooooooo. Let it go."


Until we do we will suffer more. Things work out for the best as Gyasi Zardes is better and is also missing the attitude. Nevertheless, Kei is misunderstood and the guy deserves a clap for his effort that led to our last MLS Cup appearance. 


The real question is does this 2020 Columbus Crew have the stones to make it happen this year?


They couldn't win the Bubble Tournament, despite being dark favorites, that would've marked their return to the CONCACAF Champions League for the first time in a decade.


3G always had a comfy excuse for his Crew being good but just falling short.


I'm tired of Columbus teams talking a big game. Make it happen now. Be as good or better than 2008.


LINEUP:


 I think it would be good to see how Fatai Alashe grows next to Artur with Darlington Nagbe out.

Sure Porter could swap in Berhalter but we need Alashe more this year so I would let him grow more in that position with the Columbus Crew. Get some comfortability. 


Similarly although I love everything that Josh Williams has done for the Columbus Crew, I believe at the moment Aboubacar Keita has more of the capability to be a serious contributor if needed ever in that center back line next to Mensah. Would like to see him build and grow.


RESULT: 2-0 Columbus Crew (Gyasi Zardes and then hopefully Zelarayan gets back with one.)

Sunday, September 20, 2020

REVIEW: Five wins in five at home

 


Columbus Crew kept rolling on Saturday with their ninth clean sheet in twelve games. 

Pedro Santos opened the scoring in the 50th minute for his 2nd goal in three games.


Gyasi Zardes assisted that goal and then added his ninth goal of the year in the final seconds.



With Zelarayan missing the last two games, the Argentine came in for the final twenty minutes to help assist on Zardes's late goal. 

The Crew have been unbeatable at home. Winning five out of five without conceding. 

Was not the best overall performance by Columbus who were actually outpossessed by Nashville (58% to 42%) but they did what they needed to, to increase their Supporters Shield lead to five points. 



Monday, September 7, 2020

REVIEW: The game that the Columbus Crew needed

 



A break seemed like what the doctor ordered for both Luis Diaz and Gyasi Zardes last night.

Luis Diaz was substituted in at halftime and seven minutes later had the game winning assist.

Gyasi Zardes was substituted in at the 62nd minute, scored a goal two minutes later and a second one seven minutes after that. 

One player who didn't receive a break but perhaps could make a case as deserving one as much as Diaz for subpar play was Pedro Santos. 

Well...



Santos was excellent at coming back to make defensive stops, scoring his first goal of 2020, and then a top notch assist on Zardes's first goal.

Yesterday was just what Diaz and Santos needed.

In addition, yesterday was what Gyasi Zardes needed. After starting 2020 with 5 goals in 6 games, Zardes was goalless in the last three games.

Now Zardes is back to 7 in 10.

Columbus were dangerous before Sunday. But, if everyone on the team begins firing on all cylinders watch out MLS.


©