Wednesday, September 30, 2009

9/30/09: Crew Relying Too Much On PK's, Not Enough On Precision

Crew likely not to be smiling come the end of this season, if they don't start finishing their run of play opportunities (Picture via MLSnet).

In the last few weeks, the Crew have relied on a penalty kick to give them a 2-1 win over Houston at home, a penalty kick to give them a 2-2 away tie against Chicago, and the Crew were about to rely on a penalty kick to take them to the CONCACAF Champions League knockout round last night. However, Saprissa showed with a last minute goal, that the Crew would actually have to finish a chance from the run of play to deserve qualification.

During last night's contest, the Crew had a nice ammount of brillant symphony-like movements to the 18 finished off with a worm burner concherto. Most of the Crew have realized their inability with scoring anywhere outside of the six yard box lately (think about it, we either have had a PK or Guillermo's header goal against Chicago from a yard out, or Lenhart and Gaven's goals against LA from 1 and 2 yards out respectively). Therefore, the Crew have a new tactic and that tactic appears to be let's try to get a PK and have our defense kill off the game. Heck, Alejandro Moreno tried to receive the ever-elusive second PK in the second half of last night's contest. Around the 60th minute, Moreno with his back to the defender in the box, made a brillant flick over the defenders head, spun around the defender, and had just the goalie to beat to take the game to 2-0. What did Moreno decide to do? Why fall over like he was a tranquilized rhino. Inches away, the ball begging to be slotted into the net trickled past his head.

I looked on with bemusement at the untouched Moreno. I thought to myself, "man, nice move, but that's a guy who has more confidence in his diving abilities than his scoring abilities." Oyy vey.

And, it's not just Moreno, most of our offense has the same confidence in any shot above 10 yards. Understandable since most of our roster seems to have the leg power of a 6 year old rec league player. Even Renteria has left his cannon in Caracas. And, what about the magnificent looking Ekpo last night. His moves to the eighteen had me literally squealing with delight last night, but once there he runs out of ideas or shoots it at the goalie. Ekpo had a one on one against both the Cruz Azul goalie and the Saprissa goalie, and both times he hit it right to the keeper. Find a corner Manu. Find a corner Manu.

I'm not trying to be hard on Manu, he was my man of the match by far last night. Or the rest of the Crew. I thought Moreno had a solid game(albeit Moreno should actually stay on his feet when he has a chance to score). I'm just saying that the Crew needs to learn soon how to finish opportunities. They are running out of PK luck, seriously you would think refs would begin to be scared to call one for us, as it's about to elicit cries of conspiracy from every soccer fan in MLS.

Bottom line though, the Crew shouldn't be relying on penalty kicks. They have a talented attack. They need to start having some faith in their ability to rip a nice shot precisely. Because the Crew at 92 minutes last night should have been logically up 3-0 or 4-0, that's how much they dominated Saprissa at home. But, they rested on a 1-0 lead and paid for it through a suspect goal.

The thing is, if you put your opponent away. You don't allow the ref or your pushing opponent dictate the result. The Crew and their fans have nothing to complain about. Good teams finish their chances and the Crew are not finishing them at the moment. Either they start finishing them. Or it will bite them in the ass both in Puerto Rico and in the playoffs.

In regards to CONCACAF qualifying, Saprissa is going to win at Saprissa, because Cruz Azul will likely bring their D team. The Crew will likely have to have a performance of a lifetime to get a tie at Puerto Rico. But, hey the Crew put themselves in this tough spot. We'll see if they get themselves out of it.


  1. The crew will not need the performance of a lifetime to tie in PR. PR is not that good, and now that they are eliminated they will come right at the crew meaning we can take it around them and score. The crew will bring their A game and win by a couple of goals. I'm disappointed by the tie last night, but it's no need to panic. The biggest bummer about the loss is that now we will have to balance our lineup for the games on the 17th and 20th.

    And what was with the sorry showing of fans at Crew stadium? The nordecke looked good, but there were about 10 bodies spread throughout the rest of the stadium. Considering how the CCL was supposed be advertised, how come we can't get anybody to show up? So much for home field advantage...

  2. I agree with everything here. While it is somewhat problematic that we can't score off of our ridiculous number of shot, there is no reason to panic. The fact is we dominated that game, as well as the LA game. We keep playing the way we are (and obviously a practice or two involving shots) and the goals will come.

    And consider me officially on the side of that guy who is always ripping Moreno on here. Moreno pissed me off so bad when he pulled that dive after that move. It made me sick. I'm all for Renteria and Lenhart now, at least goals got scored during the run of play with them in.

    But as soon as Schelotto retires, GET MORENOS ASS OUT OF HERE AND GET A WINGER (My money is that Ekpo is out of here to a better team as soon as he starts scoring a little more)

  3. Sorry anon, but the Crew do need nearly a performance of a lifetime. Colin Clarke, Bill Gaudette, and company are not the types who will just lay over, especially at home. Neither Saprissa or Cruz Azul found ways to win there and both needed late surges to get a tie there.

    I believe the Crew might dilly dally around like they did last night at Puerto Rico. The Crew's main problem on offense is this. They have a great opportunity in the beginning and they think no big deal we will get 20 more, so they don't concentrate on finishing it. But it is a big deal because this is the only thing missing from their game, they need to finish a solid chance or two and put games away early.

    There was no reason we should be in this stituation right now and the reason we are, is because we have no finishers.

    We are a team that needs 30 shots at goal to finally force one across the line.

    Anyways, with Saprissa playing a Cruz Azul team that won't even be playing for pride(unlike PR) I really don't know who has the advantage to qualify now.

  4. Therefore, I'm hoping for the best on October 20th, but now that we somehow messed up a very solid performance last night. Who knows.

  5. Don't get me wrong, I know Puerto Rico will bring it. I have no doubt about that. That said, our talent level is much higher and Warzycha will have our boys ready to play.

    I agree completely about the lack of finishing. Moreno has no excuse for taking that dive. Even a ref that's calling every little contact b/w players (as was the case last night), isn't going to give that call.

    But you didn't answer my question about attendance. I'm not in Columbus so it's tough for me to gauge... but I thought the Crew was pushing advertising hard for these games? Where is everybody?

  6. The Crew does a horrible job of advertising the Champions League. But I have noticed that we aren't the only ones with the poor attendance at these CL games... The crowd looked similar in Mexico and Costa Rica.

  7. I would just like to point out that Stephen Colbert indirectly gave us the Colbert Bump. I was watching it last night and he decided to insert some new slang into the minds of our nation's youth. He told them to replace the word awesome with massive. While I don't think it is quite the same as our definition (close
    nonetheless) but I think there should be some TIFO talking about our Colbert Bump

    It's right at the end, you'll have to wait out all of the advertisement crap, but it will come up if you just go straight to the end. I'm not sure whether or not to be happy about it because it did seem to give himself credit for it, but I feel like we could run with it.