Friday, July 31, 2009

7/31/09: Crew Game 20 Preview- A Very 2008-Esque Crew To Begin A Run In High Altitude Colorado Translating Into Steamrolling Again By August 15th

Stat description: Before the Crew's August run in 2008 and 2009.

On July 27th 2008, the Columbus Crew traveled to Colorado hungry for a change of fortunes. The Crew's only previous win in the whole month of July was a pointless 2-1 victory against Argentine powers Independiente and their troll raged fans (Here's a quick trivia from 2008: What fan group left the most hate filled comments after a Crewfighter wind up post? A. Toronto B. West Ham C. Chicago or D. Independiente. If you guessed Independiente, I'm bloody impressed with your Crewture knowledge, if I had a Crewture rewards system I would give you some Crewture points & flier miles.)

Rant aside, the Crew prompted an impressive August turnaround in oxygen deprived Colorado in the dying days of July 2008, this turnaround starts five days prior to when the Massive look primed to go on a similiar run in 2009. The 2008 Crew were 8-5-4(28 points) in 17 matches going into Colorado. Considering that the Crew in 2008 would win their next game against Colorado and follow that result up by getting totally outplayed in Houston by Ching & company the following week, this statistically means that in their first 19 matches in 2008 the Crew were (9-6-4) with 31 points and in third place behind New England and Chicago.

Fast forward to August 1, 2009, the Crew are (7-3-9) in 19 games with 30 points. Therefore, the Crew have three less losses, five more ties, and one less point than they had through the same ammount of matches, this time last year. Also, they have recaptured first place quicker than they did in 2008, as the Crew regained the top spot at the end of August. Not too shabby for a criminal start.

Further, despite the one less point. The three total losses halfway through the 2009 campaign instead of the six in 2008 and the five more ties this year infers that the 2009 Crew are actually harder to beat, especially at home. And, as Warzycha has said the best is yet to come, especially with reinforcements on the horizon and the similiarities between this year and last year.

As the Crew hit their solid but not mindblowing 31 and 30 points respectively in 19 matches in 2008 & 2009 by different routes. 2008 started out with a bang with 6 wins and 1 loss, 18 points in 7 games; while 2009 started out with a whimper with just 5 points in the Crew's first 7 games. But, somehow someway the Crew climbed back into the driver's seat going (7-1-4) since then, grabbing 25 points in 12 games.

Now the Crew are primed to turn it up another notch, and amazingly, after the torrid start, have a real chance at another Supporters Shield as well. So when did the Crew turn it up a notch in 2008 and when will they in 2009?

Despite most people circling the obvious August 16th win against FC Dallas propelling a (11-1-3) run for the Crew to become MLS Champions. I believe that the confidence was regained and the Crew started rolling like a Ferrari in 2008 with the way the bench played on the road in Colorado, which is always a tough place to play. The Bash Brothers got their start this game as Lenhart and Garey both played their roles. Lenhart scored first, got a red card around the 25th minute, the Crew held on to a 1-0 lead with 10 men, and then Garey capped it off with a wonder goal to give the Crew the 2-0 surprise win on the road.

Pic caption: With Lenhart and Garey's success in Colorado last year and their 5 goals combined in the last two games, now isn't probably the time yet for Moreno.

Anyways, what is that favorite saying? History repeats itself?

Well, the Crew play Colorado again this year at the same time(let's say they win 2-0 again, again off of Lenhart and Garey goals), then they have a let down against San Jose(the other Houston Dynamo), and then they play FC Dallas again on August 15th instead of August 16th(win that game to jumpstart a (7-1-1) final run through the last 9 games. The Crew get healthy, they pick up a player like Renteria, they get their depth back with guys like Moffat and Ekpo, etc. contributing. The bench shows themselves capable as well with Oughton and Burns. The Crew make another run in the league and for the Supporters Shield. And, compete well enough in CONCACAF Champions League group stages to qualify because of their newfound depth.

For a stressful start, everything is rounding out perfectly for Robert Warzycha, who's starting to leave a more offensive imprint with the team.

Prediction: 2-0, Lenhart and Garey, history repeats itself. Except in the end, Warzycha's Crew might actually end up better by building on Schmid's progress.


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