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Game 10 – Crew @ Chivas USA Preview

May 31, 2008

The Crew head west to close out the season series with Chivas USA. The first game was an epic battle as the Crew prevailed 4-3 on a cold and windy night in Columbus. The weather should be much better for the rematch. Much like the first matchup, Chivas has a lengthy injury list including offensive pacesetter Maykel Galindo and left back Jonathan Bornstein. However, unlike the first matchup, Chivas has shown much better form recently with two straight wins. The Crew look to rebound and vault back into first place. They have midfielder Adam Moffat back and Frankie Hejduk has returned from international duty, only Gino Padula remains on the injured list among the starters. This is a prime opportunity to bounce back.

Crew on Offense:

The Crew have had a hard time breaking through in the last two weeks. Teams are starting to target Robbie Rogers and he has had a relatively quiet couple of weeks. Schelotto also has been taken out of the past couple of matches. On the positive end, midfield dynamo Adam Moffat will be starting. He did look a little rusty in midweek action, but has a nose for the goal and adds a long range shooting threat. He also is connects with Schelotto and Moreno better than Evans did the past couple of weeks. Additionally, Eddie Gaven came alive on the offensive end of the field last week. I believe it is only a matter of time that he breaks through for a couple goals. He seems to be a streaky player, and you can see he is playing better on the offensive end. Another factor will be how rookie referee Fernando Galvan calls the game. The Crew are much more dangerous when defenses are not allowed to get overly physical against the Crew offensive players. I look for the Crew to score at least a goal against a still weakened Chivas defense. If they can get two, I think they pick up the win.

Crew on Defense:

The Crew defense is solidifying behind the leadership of Chad Marshall, Danny O’Rourke has improved markedly in the past month, and a half since these teams last played and Frankie Hejduk is in fine form. One key concern is at left back Gino Padula has had a tough time coming back from injury and Ezra Hendrickson has looked slow and gave up; a bad foul in the box that ended up costing the Crew a tie. I thought Jed Zayner looked excellent last week in reserve action and Ryan Junge had a good showing in the midweek Open Cup qualifier against Salt Lake. Coach Schmid is conservative when it comes to the lineup, so I would expect to see EZ back in the lineup. The Crew also will be facing a slightly different Chivas team. Jorge Flores has stepped into the lineup and has scored a couple of goals. It will be important that the defense continues it strong play; I have every expectation that they will.

Final Thoughts:

This game will depend on how the Crew responds. They suffered a tough loss last Saturday, and came out and dominated Salt Lake on Tuesday. I see a similar start from the Crew. I do have concerns about the long trip to the west coast after a busy week. This will be the Crew’s third match in 8 days. I see this as a fit team, but I see the performance dropping late. I hope they can get out to a strong start and secure the victory, but I see a tie. 

Crew 1 – Chivas USA 1

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