Monday, October 12, 2009

10/12/09: Too Deep Crew Clinch Eastern Conference At New England



Without six starters, the Crew picked up a huge result on the road with a 1-0 win at New England. Gino Padula scored with a slower version of a Beckham-like free kick that Matt Reis and Emmanuel Osei of New England both misjudged at the critical moment. The Crew dominated in a self-proclaimed lackluster performance by New England. The Crew were not even threatened by New England too much 11 v. 10 after Ekpo received a red card for heading a ball; Ekpo's elbow, at the same time, supposedly caught Kevin Alston who Ekpo didn't even see culminating a series of questionable calls by the ref.

Still no problem for the Crew without Guillermo, Hejduk, Rogers, Marshall, Moreno, and O'Rourke. The attack looked dangerous with Lenhart and Renteria (who is looking well worth the $90 K salary). Warzycha said about the two's performance, “They battled. They’re both physical. Coming into the game, we knew we had a good chance to win some balls in the air. With their physical presence, we can hold the defenders off. That was what happened today: they were effective, they combined, and they were dangerous in front.” The two together appear to be a back line's worse nightmare as it appeared as if Osei and company whoke up Sunday morning with some black and blue bruises. Just no fear, no backing away from the ball, and no diving. Instead, the defenders were on the ground and I liked that.

If I was the coach, that combination would eventually give me something to muse about over next year if it continues to work out. Sure, it's just one performance but it seemed more than promising. The whole team looked more than promising, as our back ups can play and therefore I'm not at all worried for 2010. Hell, the half backups and half starters lineup has given us some of our better results as of late like the 1-0 win in Saprissa and the 1-0 win on Saturday against New England.

Overall Ratings:
GK: Hesmer- 7.5 - Not much for him to do even when the Crew went down to 10 men. Saved a couple of dangerous shots by Castro and Joseph when need be though.
DR: Zayner- 9 - Zayner has been a revelation this year and the revelation is he is really good. Showing that he was worth the first round pick in 2006, the kid can play. And, once Hejduk hangs them up, if he does before 40, lol. Zayner would be a great, transition free replacement.
DC: Iro- 8.5 - Good job by the big man, probably Iro's best performance of the year. He was shaky in some appearances early in the year, but has plugged the central defense well when need be as of late.
DC: Brunner- 8.5 - Good performance by Brunner, seems to be getting over his little slump there at the beginning of the month.
DL: Padula- 9.5 - What can you say? Padula is just about the only guy on this team that doesn't seem to miss a game. A stalwart on the left side and it's great to see him get a goal. Gi-nooooo! Gi-noooo!
DM: Carroll- 8.5 - Effectively clogged up the middle when needed 11 v. 10. Good distribution to the forwards in the first half.
CM: Burns- 8.5 - Good game by Burns, showing that the faith put into him by Warzycha at the moment isn't totally unfounded. The kid can play and is another player like Zayner who could step in if we lose somebody in the franchise draft in the offseason.
LM: Gaven- 9 - What can you say, Gaven has been great as of late. You know how Gaven was left unprotected at the end of last year instead of Rogers and Ekpo. Well, Gaven is looking like the first player the Crew will protect in the midfield at the end of this offseason. He has been huge the previous month. Undoubtedly our best player down the stretch. At the moment, I would protect him and Ekpo, and leave Rogers unprotected because Rogers is likely headed back to Europe soon anyways. Ekpo and Gaven if they do head overseas, it's going to be quite longer down the road.
RM: Ekpo- 7.5 - Had some good flashes and got into the attack. Needs to watch his elbows though when he is going up. It was a bad call but avoidable. Put the Crew in a tough spot for the remainder of the game.
ST: Renteria- 9.2 - I like the combination of him and Lenhart. I actually think it will be our combo of the future. Once Renteria puts one in the back of the net and gets that little extra confidence that I think he needs. I don't think there will be any stopping him. A great shift put in by him last Saturday.
ST: Lenhart - 9.2. - Hey, what can you say the guy is a beast and is getting better on the technical end of things every game. Really making a good case to not be a guy off the bench next year but to be the guy next year in my opinion.

QUOTEABLE: Steve Nicol on the conceded goal-
“It’s horrible. I don’t know how to put it – it’s horrible, no matter how you want to look at it. Nobody’s taking charge. It’s horrible goal … no communication.”

I guess it was, how do you say, horrible?

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