Friday, June 26, 2009

6/26/09: Crew vs. Red Bulls Preview

The Crew get their rings, but hopefully don't get caught up in the hoopla (Picture by Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images).

The Columbus Crew and the New York Red Bulls come into this game off of tepid performances that resulted in losses. The Crew fell apart again late, this time in the sweltering heat against FC Dallas. While the Red Bulls fell apart in Canada against a pink jersied Toronto FC 2-0. The Red Bulls loss was their 7th in 9 games, the other two results were ties. While the Crew have been warming up but took a step backward last week in Texas. Overall, neither team looks fit yet to be involved in a night dubbed "The Night of Champions", with a coin toss featuring Buster Douglas:

Buster, befittingly as a boxer hanging out by a grill. (AP)

Nevertheless, the Crew with 19 points at least are in the hunt. Columbus is only four points back from a first place DC United who will be in town for Fourth of July next week. While NYRB are nowhere near the hunt, 13 back with 10 points in 17 games. Yes, the Crew are 9 up on NYRB and have played three less games and somehow Osorio still has a job, spellbinding.

Not much more protesting left in Osorio's future. (Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images)

However, the Red Bulls will try to use the "Night of Champions" ring ceremony as motivation. The Crew will receive their championship rings before the game against the Red Bull team that they beat in last year's final. Nevertheless, it looks as if the Crew need not worry about bad karma as according to Craig Merz's article, the Red Bulls are on a 21-game (0-15-6) regular-season road winless streak which is a league record. The Red Bulls last won a league road match on May 10, 2008, at Los Angeles.

Add to the Red Bulls winless streak on the road that the Crew haven't lost at home in about the same ammount of games stretching back to June 6, 2008 and a Red Bulls result at Crew Stadium even looks less likely. But, who would have thought the USA would have snapped Spain's 35 game winning streak? Not much of anyone and the Red Bulls getting lucky on the road at Crew Stadium seems much more likely. If I was Osorio I would use that game as motivation to say, "look streaks mean nothing, any day, any team can win." And, that's the danger, the Crew may get caught up in the hoopla and be too loose after receiving their rings. Next thing you know, the Crew could be in a real hole with back to back losses to FC Dallas and NYRB, two teams that they should beat almost every time out.

The Crew have to avoid that at all costs and take their home undefeated streak personal. That streak is getting pretty damn near impressive and if you have to, you want to give up that first loss someday against a team that is just at their best game in and game out(like a 2008 Crew), not a team like NYRB.

The Crew also have the injuries working in their favor as Columbus is starting to get healthy, the only player out right now is Adam Moffat. While NYRB have three very important players to their cause questionable for Saturday in Juan Pablo Angel, Albert Celades, and Macoumba Kandji.

William Hesmer and Frankie Hejduk are both healthy enough to start for the Crew, but Warzycha may possibly play both only in the second half, or at least Hejduk will come off the bench as a field player.

COLUMBUS CREW - William Hesmer - Frankie Hejduk, Eric Brunner/Danny O'Rourke, Chad Marshall, Gino Padula - Brian Carroll - Emmanuel Ekpo, Eddie Gaven, Robbie Rogers - Guillermo Barros Schelotto - Alejandro Moreno.

It looks as if JPA, Celades, and Kandji will be out. Possibly one of the three will find their way on the field out of necessity. But, probably won't be 100% percent.

NEW YORK RED BULL - Danny Cepero - Jeremy Hall, Andrew Boyens, Carlos Mendes, Alfredo Pacheco - Nick Zimmerman, Luke Sassano, Seth Stammler, Jorge Rojas - Dane Richards, John Wolyniec.

RESULT: New York is missing some of their top players in Juan Pablo Angel and Albert Celades. New York is working on three days rest, coming off a game in Toronto on Wednesday. New York hasn't won on the road in 21 games. Crew haven't lost at home in like 19 or 20 games. Everything is aligning for a Crew victory.

The only way the Crew lose this one is if they take NYRB completely forgranted. However, I don't think the team that NYRB marches out on Saturday is capable of playing with similiar heart as the USA displayed against Spain, that's the only way to break such odds and streaks. If you watched any of New York this year, you would see that they are just not capable at the moment of leaving their hearts out on the field. Additionally, NYRB are probably just not skilled enough as Osorio never replaced Dave Van Den Bergh. I just don't think NYRB has enough and as long as the Crew don't get caught up in the ring hoopla and stay focused the Crew will come out with the win.

Crew win 3-0 with two goals by GBS and a late one from Lenhart.


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