Friday, October 9, 2009

10/9/09: Crew vs. New England Preview

Proverbial daggers will be drawn Saturday night as the Crew and New England jockey for playoff position (Pic by: Sam Fahmi, Crew vs. NE 9/5/2008)

The Crew finished what could have been a debilitating 7 games in 21 days with a 3-2-2 record, (2-1-1) in MLS and (1-1-1) in CONCACAF. Not too shabby as the stretch could have been better or worse. The Crew were unlucky to not win against Saprissa and at least tie against Seattle, but then again received some nice breaks against Houston and Chicago therefore evening out the cutthroat schedule. The Crew now, with their first game on a full weeks rest in about a month, can close up their Eastern Conference lead and home field advantage with a win this Saturday in New England.

Captain Frankie and Robbie Rogers With The National Team
The Crew will try to clinch the Eastern Conference without usual starters Frankie Hejduk and Robbie Rogers. The Crew should be able to replace Hejduk with Zayner and having Rogers out is probably a mixed blessing based on Rogers' not so spectacular play against Seattle. I would play Ekpo in his place this week.

Adam Moffat Feeling the Injury Bug Again, Marshall also still out
Moffat had a little bump to his ankle and was held out of practice Thursday but should be okay for Saturday. If he is okay, he should be starting. Burns held his own, but Moffat at the moment should be the option before Burns. I think the decision to start Burns against Seattle was overcoaching by Warzycha (attempting to give every player minutes), as Moffat hasn't played in enough games this year to be tired or deserve a break. He was injured for the first half of the season.

Lets wait until we close up the Eastern Conference and the Supporters Shield, then we can give some of those guys like Burns, Elenio, and Grendi a run out. Heck, could of done that against Puerto Rico if we didn't allow that last second goal against Saprissa at home.

Revolution with the usual and even bigger injury issues
Steve Ralston is out for the rest of the year, Jeff Larentowicz is out for tomorrow's game, Jay Heaps is recovering from a strain but will be available off the bench, and Lithuanian striker Jankauskas is suffering with a groin injury but will play. These injuries should level the playing field, especially since the Crew are the deeper squad.

Time to give Renteria a full 90 minutes?
I would like to see Renteria for a full ninety minutes this weekend. But, with the chance to clinch, I'm guessing Warzycha will go with Lenhart or Garey, who Warzycha trusts more and who has had success against the Revolution respectively. Moreno is on World Cup qualifying duty with Venezuela this week. Which may be a good thing as some coach needs to tell Moreno to stay on his feet. Moreno had two great opportunities against Saprissa and Seattle (did all that work) and then dived when the better option would have been to take the shot.

Great guy and all, great player as well, just needs to rely on his ability first. Possibly Renteria will be out there with Lenhart though tomorrow, I would really like to see Renteria open up his Crew account this week.

3-5-2 a Good Decision?
Mitchell said that he has a feeling that with Hejduk, O'Rourke, and Marshall out the Crew will play with a three back line. Wasn't such a good idea against Cruz Azul but possibly the Crew could get away with that against New England as long as they have two DM's(Carroll and Moffat).

The Time Of Year When Games Start To Get Very Interesting
Both teams want this game for different reasons. The Crew want it to put things to rest in their conference and to take another step towards their second Supporters Shield. The New England Revolution want it to get placing in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Here's Revolution defender Kevin Alston's comments on tomorrow's game:
"We need to come out with a passion," said Kevin Alston, "come out with some fire under our feet. We’re both motivated. They have a goal, we have a goal, but I hope that we're the better team on the day."

From the Crew Side, from Craig Merz:
"It is an important game against New England but we have another game after that at D.C. and the Champions League," Schelotto said. "We would like to win the conference Saturday."

Prediction: Crew win 2-1 as Renteria opens his account and Lenhart gets one as well. New England, especially an injured New England, doesn't have enough to stop the Crew home or away.

1 comment:

  1. Joseph isn't anything to be afraid of. He is a great player but he is gonna be alone out there.

    Perhaps against a lesser team he'd put on a show but I think the boys will have no problem shutting him down.

    Crew 3 New England 1

    Renteria, Ekpo and Moffat (All are overdue)