Tuesday, March 9, 2010

3/10/2010: Good Second Half Gives Crew Lifeline. Lenhart & Renteria Combo For 90 Minutes Might Have Given Crew More.

If Lenhart Keeps Playing Like This, The Guy From Asuza Pacific Could Be Wearing The Stars & Stripes Someday. Unbelievable first goal. (Picture by G. Bartram/Getty)

Renteria and Lenhart combined for two goals in the final twenty-four minutes against Toluca. They looked electric, fiery/scary hot in the second half together. Which makes one wonder what the score would've been, if the Crew coaching staff wouldn't have thrown a right winger in as a striker for the first 70 minutes of this game. Call it the "Ohh vey!" Ekpo at Striker Experiment, as that was working out as well as a Knox Cameron-Sebastian Rozental pairing.*

*Not sure if that pairing ever happened, it's been a long car ride. But, if that pairing would have happened, that pairing would of sucked.

Overall, the Crew had some great chances in the first half, mostly from their midfield or rather mostly from Adam "The Scottist Bullet" Moffat (by the way, did anyone else feel like that first Moffat shot was going in as it was struck from the same place Moffat scored against TFC in the 08' opener?). Anyway, the Crew could not capitalize on these long distance chances, while the whole Lenhart (playing the target striker) with Emmanuel Ekpo (playing the withdrawn forward role of Guillermo Barros Schelotto) obviously was not working in the first half since Ekpo isn't Guillermo. Ekpo gave a good effort but that isn't his position and he isn't Schelotto. Ahhhh, dur. So why would we force that formation without Schelotto, when Warzycha prefers a two forwards, no withdrawn forwards, formation anyways? Your guess is as good as mine.

So, Ekpo looked lost at distributing and Lenhart looked like a blonde island in the first half. I have no clue what Warzycha saw in the Ekpo and Lenhart striker combo but something must have inspired that in training. Even though the pairing did not look right in the 5th minute, the 20th minute, or the 60th minute. So, thank god Warzycha finally decided to put an actual striker out there in the form of Renteria to combine with Lenhart in the second half.

And, man did the two together change the entire game dynamic, with Renteria assisting Lenhart twice and the Crew almost getting a late winner. And, this made me think where was this pairing the first 70 minutes? As I felt like I was in a depressed fog watching the game until Lenhart whoke me/jolted me the hell up in the 70th minute.

Really, I just don't get how you choose a right winger who has never played withdrawn forward in Ekpo over this new Colombian striker in Sergio Herrera who is supposed to be a godsend for us in attack (but did not even see the field tonight) or Emilio Renteria who is also a better striking option than someone in Ekpo who has never played striker... Or even Jason Garey.

Also, how well Renteria and Lenhart combined in the last twenty minutes, I think the game ends up 4-2 if there up top together for this game. I guess you cannot totally blame Warzycha though as the pairing did not come through for him in the away leg at RSL last year. And, how the hell is Warzycha supposed to know that the two would combine so well tonight in comparison?

Anyway, we go in Toluca (and their altitude) tied, and we will need a big time miracle to come away with a win there. But, at least the second half can give the Crew some confidence that they can hang with these guys and maybe Lenhart is the real deal this year and at least we tied. Hell, at half time it was looking like we were headed for a 3-0 or 4-0 loss. So, after the first half, I can deal with 2-2 tie, as at least it makes me want to watch and hope for next week.

Overall, not a bad effort at all for a preseason Crew.


More coming tomorrow as I'm tuckered out from the ride back to Pennsylvania, may make a video as well if the footage I took tonight was decent overall. Cheers and good night at 4 a.m. Go Crew!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I didn't think Ekpo looked that bad, considering his lack of experience with his position. The Crew had to great first-half chances with Lenhart and Garey botching them.

    Eric B was getting schooled in the backline by Toluca's youngsters. I thought he had the worst night out there.

    Overall, I'm happy with the result. Can't wait to watch the boys play in Mexico.

  3. Slight correction; Ekpo got the assist on the first goal. But the fact still remains, Ekpo is good on the wings, not as a striker. I was hoping to see Hererra.

  4. I am just going to throw this out there, but I think that Warzycha probably knows a little more about what's going on with the team than you do. No offense or anything, but Bobby does watch these guys every single day for a job, chances are that he had something up his sleeve. No coach is stupid to go out an get strikers and then decide to not play them. Cut him some slack.

  5. Yeah eyes must have been playing some tricks on me because for some reason I thought it was Renteria that assisted on the first goal as well.

    I just did not like the Ekpo and Lenhart pairing up top at all. Sure, we had chances but I never felt that we were going to score after the first 60 minutes-65 minutes.

    Toluca or any team will settle for us shooting from 30 yards out which was the case for most of the first half.

    I thought it would have been better to go with two strikers up top from the outset. Because the first half lineup wasn't us going for it, it was a lineup that showed we were scared to concede goals. And, with that lineup we conceded two. When we went for it, we got two back.

    And, yeah Kevin I'm sure a coach knows way more than me. But, I still think it was a dumb pairing up top in the first half.

  6. And, basically this is just me picking on one thing. I just didn't get the whole Ekpo before Herrera and Renteria deal. Good on Warzycha though to make the correct changes later and to at least get a tie despite injuries.

    Even though I'm pretty sure we were facing most of Toluca's B team.

  7. Oh, okay it was mostly their A team except for Mancilla. I thought they had some reserves in since I did not see Mancilla up top.