Saturday, August 4, 2012

8/4/2012: Columbus Crew vs. DC United Preview

8/4/2012: Columbus Crew vs. DC United Preview
By Ryan Kozlowski

The Columbus Crew can have their longest winning streak of the season and push their way back into the playoff conversation with a win tonight against D.C. United.

Columbus needs the win more than anything; on a team that has lacked consistency in results this season, a win would be huge for overall confidence and belief.

Crew Costa Rican signing Jairo Arrieta leads the Crew into D.C. United, coming off a two goal performance against KC and winning player of the month honors in MLS.

A big reason for Arrieta's Player of the Month award wasn't just his play against KC, but his pinpoint assist to Chris Birchall in the 1-0 win against D.C. United a few weeks prior.

Arrieta and a confident Crew are looking for similar results when they battle D.C. United at 7:30 P.M. tonight (on FSN OHIO, INDIANA, and DETROIT).

Crew need to play same lineup to get the same results...

This is the lineup the Columbus Crew trotted out against Sporting Kansas City

A similar lineup is required today against D.C. United for similar results.

The only necessary change is a switch, in defensive midfield, for a player to pair up with Chris Birchall; after Cole Grossman suffered a late red card against Sporting Kansas City.

I would be fine with Tony Tchani or Kevan George stepping in, either could do a fine job deputizing in that defensive midfield, where both have played well this season.

Crew have the defense, can offense go strong for two weeks straight..

The Columbus Crew have been strong this season in the defensive half.

Now building from the back, Columbus appears to be finally gelling on offense thanks to the breakout play of Jairo Arrieta (making $225,000 a year).

Chris Birchall is also looking like a steal at $109,000 a year.

The trio of Duka, Meram, and Gaven have done an excellent job producing chances for Arrieta, while the Crew waits for their DP Federico Higuain and Chilean playmaker Milovan Mirosevic to get back from injury.

The Crew roster should have a lot of competition in those midfield positions once those two get into the mix and it will be interesting to see who starts.

Nevertheless, I hope Robert Warzycha doesn't make too many changes when that time comes because the Crew are finally playing the same starting eleven and getting results.

I back the Crew to get a result once again tonight.

PREDICTION: Columbus Crew have a battle on their hands with a D.C. United hell bent on turning their recent woes around; Columbus will go down early but build off of the recent play of Arrieta who will net another brace. Columbus win 2-1.

Duka on the teams mentality on

"Our mentality has been different. We're in a situation where we need every point to make it to the post season. (Kansas City and D.C.) have more points than us, so these have been key games to take points away from."

"Two weeks ago, we came out and knew (D.C.) was a good team. We knew we had to battle from the first minute to the last. We definitely jumped on them early. We were hungry. We needed the three points."


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