Wednesday, September 16, 2009

9/17/09: Sing Us A Song Eddie Gaven Man! Crew win 1-0 in Saprissa!

Sing us a song Eddie Gaven man!
Sing us a song tonight!
Because you got us in the mood for a victory!
And you've got us feeling alright!
Da-da-da-did-di-da!!! Da-da-da-did-di-da-da-da!

Strike up the chorus, Gaven has scored two game winners in four days against the second best team in MLS and the best team in Costa Rica. The 5th minute surprise strike by Gaven gave the Crew the early edge and the Crew's makeshift defense was able to withhold the Saprissa onslaught. The Crew's 1-0 victory over the purple dinosaurs jumps them up to 6 points in CONCACAF Group C, one point behind Cruz Azul.

The win comes as a pleasant surprise to most Crew fans, who would have been pleased with a tie after their last result away in CONCACAF with their starters. However, this time against Saprissa the Crew played mainly reserves except for Gaven, Carroll, Hesmer, and O'Rourke. The Crew also had to deal with turf twenty times worse than Giants Stadium and a biased referee that called minimal contact fouls on the Crew for most of the night. If that wasn't enough, Duncan Oughton was playing right back for the first time in three years.

Everything was lining up for another road blowout in CONCACAF. But, somehow the B squad didn't play like the B squad on the road and somehow Warzycha drew up a plan that worked. Warzycha had the Crew push for the early goal, they got that goal and the Crew decided to try to survive until half. Then after half the Crew moved Rogers up top to hopefully relieve some pressure and slotted Lenhart back a bit to hopefully redirect balls to Rogers. The move was tactically genius and relieved some pressure in the second half. The Crew defense also tried their hardest not to receive a red card despite the 20 or so phantom fouls called on them during the game.

At the end of the day, it somehow worked. It was a heroic, massive, road victory by the reserves who pulled out the 1-0 win virtually guarenteeing the Crew a spot in the next round of CONCACAF.

With 3 games remaining Cruz Azul has 7 points, the Crew have 6, Saprissa has 3, and PRI has 1. The Crew play the toughest two remaining opponents Cruz Azul and Saprissa both at home. If the Crew can beat Saprissa away with reserves against their starters they can win at home. Also, the Crew may have a chance at home against Cruz Azul, PRI tied Cruz Azul 3-3 on Tuesday at home, therefore the Crew might have a chance to beat Cruz Azul at home. Then a tie would be a good result in Puerto Rico. Looking at it the Crew would be expected to qualify with around 10-12 points finishing in either first or second in CONCACAF Group C.

Therefore, this win is huge for setting the Crew up perfectly to qualify from CONCACAF. Also, getting this win, with mainly reserves, sets the Crew up well for this weekend away in Chicago with all the Crew's starters playing.

Now what looked like a horrible stretch of games doesn't look so bad. The Crew got the big CONCACAF win at Saprissa with their reserves, now the Crew have a good chance to win at Chicago with their starters on Sunday. Then the Crew are at home (where they're undefeated since June 2008) for games against Cruz Azul, Los Angeles, Saprissa, and Seattle.

As a result, I'm not worried no matter what roster the Crew puts out for this stretch of games. Tonight showed that the Crew have some nice depth. And, now the Crew can really make a statement over the next five games, despite the result in Mexico they still could be the best team in all of CONCACAF. We'll see.


  1. What's going on with Marshall?

    I still don't understand how we lost that Open Cup match!

    Gaven's goal was awesome. I'm glad he didn't go down but battled through and finished nicely. Well done.

    I guess after the early goal, Warzycha decided to leave GBS on the bench. Who else was on the bench--I'm surprised the coach didn't sub out more often, just to waste time.

  2. Ekpo's time wasting run out along the 18 towards the corner kinda got a laugh out of me. Way to not rip a shot and give them posession right there. Robbie had a couple chances his crazy feet were making them dizzy. smart play from the massive