Tuesday, August 11, 2009

8/11/09: Crew Top Of The League And Having A Laugh. But, Will Cunningham Get Last Laugh?

The Crew joke around at the end of practice. The losers of "Crossing & Finishing" and "Pat Noonan" line up in front of the net for a barrage from the winners (Picture by Chris Russell/Dispatch).

Without Guillermo Barros Schelotto for the last four games and without Frankie Hejduk for their last two the Crew have won four straight, as Guille would say about his sitting out "no problem." And, it has been no problem for the Crew no matter if Guille, Frankie, Robbie, or Chad have been missing. The Crew haven't lost in their last six and are 9-1-4 in their last 14 games. The only loss since April 5th coming at the hands of the Crew's next opponent FC Dallas via a 2-1 defeat in Frisco on June 20th.

Nevertheless, even though the Crew's next opponents dealt them their last loss, the Massive squad doesn't seem to have a concern in the world. Everything is falling into place. Even players who were slumping or injured for long periods, have come right back into the roster and scored(Moffat- long time injury, Rogers-slumping, Moreno- slumping). Even Hejduk's replacement, Zayner, had nearly a man of the match performance covering for him in San Jose this last week. Further, the MVP magician Guillermo is back this week putting Crew followers in Utopia with that news and the team's recent form without him. So, what do the Crew have to worry about? Other than shots to the bum?

Well, FC Dallas is on a run. So, that may be worrysome. Nevertheless, San Jose were on a similiar dangerous run (coming off a 4-0 win against Seattle and tie against DC United) and Columbus still brought them back down to size with a masterful second half performance on their way to a 3-0 win on Saturday.

And, because of that win the Crew seem to be in a bouyant mood that matches their fan's mindset, as you know things are good when you're reporting on backside target practice and getting quotes from Oughton like this (via Mitchell):
"There is a bit of bonding that goes on by ripping a soccer ball at someone's (bum)," veteran midfielder Duncan Oughton said. "It's fun. It's always good to get a laugh and have a smile after a hard practice."

Still, although it looks like most of MLS isn't much of a challenge to another Crew run at late season dominancy, I can bet Warzycha and company will be ready for FC Dallas and especially one man by the end of this week:

Jeff Cunningham(looking like his old Crew self, check out the video below) is playing possessed lately for FC Dallas scoring 5 goals in the last two games in two wins. After Dallas lost arguably their best player, Kenny Cooper, to Bundesliga side 1860 Munich, Cunningham picked up the Hoops by their bootstraps and has rejuvinated the FC Dallas attack. An attack that even looks more dangerous now than it did with Cooper. Because of this change in fortunes, Dallas(a team that looked destined to be out of the playoff race at this time) is only four points out of the eighth playoff spot held by Chivas or Toronto at 27 points.

Sure, a little fun at the beginning of the week is fine. But, hopefully, the Crew get down to business later this week. FC Dallas is the last team to beat the Crew and they are hungry to make more of a push towards the playoffs. If the Crew want to extend their home winning streak to twenty, Warzycha's charges have to be ready at home.


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