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Game 4: Crew @ D.C. United Pregame

April 17, 2008

The Crew come into the game on an offensive high. They scored four goals for the first time since October 2006 and a starting to look like a well oiled machine on offense. D.C. United is coming off of the worst defensive performance sine 2004 in a 4-0 loss to Real Salt Lake. In addition, D.C. is coping with the possible loss of defender Gonzalo Martinez. While this game looks like it is setting up well for the Crew, there are some things to note. The Crew have only won four times ever at RFK, and D.C. rested several starters last Saturday.

Crew on Offense:

Schelotto is the key to the offense. With him performing well, the Crew can score goals and control the game. Clyde Simms will be tasked with shutting down the diminutive Argentine. If Simms is successful it will be dependant on Rogers and Gaven to pick up the slack. Failing that, the Crew offense starts to resort to the long ball offense. Moreno can perform well in certain situations, but a long ball target forward is not one of them. Carroll, returning to D.C. for the first time as a visiting player, and Moffat will have to perform their usual two way role to free Schelotto. Hejduk and Padula have the ability to create from the back, but will probably have their hands full against a potent United attack.

Crew on Defense:

The defense played well despite giving up three goals last week against a weakened Chivas. They will need to play a solid 90 minutes against a very potent attack starring Emilio, Fred, Gallardo, Quaranta, Jaime Moreno and even Neill can create offensive havoc. The center of the defense will have to cut down on the passing lanes and stifle the attack through the center. Moffat and Carroll did a good job at this versus Chivas most of the game. The Marshall and O’Rourke pairing will have to perform better than they have all season. The United will be hungry to get back on track, and I expect them to press from the outset. Padula will have to impove over his weak defensive game last week as the United, with Quaranta and Fred, able to do attack from the wings. This will be the defense’s toughest test so far this year. I think it will be very hard to keep a clean sheet, but the United’s offensive chances have to be kept at a minimum.

Final Thoughts:

This is shaping up to be a game with a lot of attacking from both sides. The defenses for both teams have substantial weaknesses. If Schelotto, Moffat, and Carroll can control the central midfield like against Chivas, the Crew stand a good chance of getting all three points. The United, however, will be coming into the game with something to prove. It will be an exciting game that I think will end in a tie. I would be content if the Crew can get a result on the road.

Crew 2 – D.C. United 2

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