Games 7 – Quakes 2 – Crew 3
This team keeps finding ways to surprise. The Crew pulled out a win and got the three points on the road… after going behind… to a team that had given up five goals all year. On the other hand, this is a team that could not score off of 18 Schelotto corners and gave up two goals to a team that had only two before this game. I guess it is just another week following the hottest team in MLS.
The Crew continued it’s trend of starting strong. There were several chances at goal within the first 15 minutes. Coach Schmid obviously wanted to get out to a strong start. Robbie Rogers consistently found space on the right side. Ezra Hendrickson had a couple of good opportunities, including a powerful header that left the crossbar rocking. Schelotto pull the strings on offense, sending a dangerous ball across to Moreno. All of this pressure also forced San Jose into conceding the first of many corners. For all of the attacking pressure however, the Crew could not find the target.
With the Crew pressure mounting, San Jose launched it’s counterattack strategy. With Miglioranzi leaving injured and Columbus pressing forward, San Jose was able to find space to work against a short handed defense. San Jose finally broke through for a lead when Ramiro Corrales got on the end of a corner kick, beating both his mark, Brian Carroll, and the ‘keeper William Hesmer to put the home side up 1-0. It was tough to see so many opportunities fall short and then see the punchless Quakes offense break through on a corner kick.
It seems as if the team figured out the San Jose counter strategy as they started the second half strong. The corner attempts started piling up for the Crew, but none of them were dangerous enough to challenge the Joe Cannon or the San Jose defense. The Crew were also able to maintain pressure as Hejduk got involved in the offense, lobbing a great cross to Brad Evans who could not direct the ball on frame. Hejduk also picked up a bouncing ball at the top of the box and placed it just under the bar; unfortunately Joe Cannon was able to get a hand on it and push it over for yet another corner.
It looked like it wasn’t the Crew’s night, but Rogers and the offense would change that in the course of 10 minutes (between the 73rd and 82nd minutes) by scoring three goals. The first was started a brilliant bit of two way work by recent sub Emmanuel Ekpo, great positioning and vision by Carroll, and the speed and skill of Rogers. The second was good vision by Alejandro Moreno to spring Rogers again who rounded Cannon to put the Crew up 2-1. The Crew were not finished, as Schelotto padded his assist total by pushing the ball up to Evans, who then struck a shot up past a diving Cannon to put the Crew up 3-1. Each of these goals came out of the center of the park and played into space to players who were tucked in more centrally. It was great to see the team find a hole, execute the pass and then finish. They took advantage of that opportunity with time running out to get the win after being down on the road.
It is great to get a win on the road, but it is frustrating not to score on any one of our 18 on corners and watch the other team score on 2 of 7 of their corners. It was frustrating to miss so many chances. Cannon did have a very good game in goal, but the Crew seemed a little off against a very weak team. However, there are tremendous positives as they made adjustments to negate the counterattack strategy of San Jose and control the game. It was also great to see the team never stop working to equalize to get the point on the road, and then push into a higher gear to get the win. It is true it was against San Jose, but you get points when you can. The team heads to Toronto next week, this is one of the biggest tests of the young season. I cannot wait to see that game.