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Game 10: Crew 0 – Chivas USA 2

June 1, 2008

We played a man down basically from the moment we got off the bus. – Sigi Schmid

Not much more can be said about the game last night than what Coach Schmid said. The Crew played it’s worst stretch of soccer in the first 25 minutes of last night’s game. This resulted in a 2-0 deficit and the dismissal of defender Danny O’Rourke. The Crew played better after that and did not collapse, but by then the game was out of reach.

The team looked awful from the start. They did not maintain possession and the forwards disconnected from the rest of the team. Chivas ruthlessly attacked down both flanks. This was to be expected on the left side as Ezra Hendrickson served as a training cone. It was very odd to see Chivas have success down the right side. Hejduk was caught out of position and a little slow on his tackles.

Both goals came from the left side. Carey Talley was free to cross a ball across the goal as Hendrickson failed to close down Talley. O’Rourke came for the header, but was pushed by Atiba Harris. Hejduk’s weak clearance fell to Jorge Flores, who put Chivas up 1-0. The second goal was a driven ball that Justin Braun outmuscled Chad Marshall to get to. He then drove towards goal, O’Rourke then came out to meet him. Braun looked up and found Jessie Marsh. Marsh quickly made it 2-0. It was frustrating to match as the defense was caught up, and both Marshall and Hendrickson were very slow in getting back into the defensive zone. O’Rourke would secure the result for Chivas with a red card immediately following play resuming with one of the worst challenges I have seen. His boot was at least two feet high as he cleated Atiba Harris on the knee. That three minute stretch was indicative of play up to that point.

The Crew did turn it around a little and the inclusion of Adam Moffat at halftime really improved the team’s performance. If there is any bright spot to last night’s game it is Moffat. He is recovered from his knee surgery and moved around well. The team looked different with his battling nature in the center of the midfield. His inclusion was certainly not enough to spur a comeback. Emmanuel Ekpo also saw some playing time in the second half, but he still looks like he is struggling to adapt. Steven Lenhart’s appearance signaled the end of any hope of a Crew comeback. Coach Schmid was compelled to pull Robbie Rogers as Chivas had taking to hacking and fouling the gifted winger at any opportunity. I guess this brings me to my last issue with the game. I thought the referee had a decent game (all things considered), except he did not bring out his cards often or fast enough. Chivas resorted to chopping down Rogers, but the ref did not bring out the cards to really clamp down on this tactic. The Crew offense will continue to struggle as long as defenses can rough up Schelotto and Rogers.

Crew fans will have several questions after watching this game. Why did Sigi start Evans? (no idea there) What is wrong with Schelotto? (His midfield support is nonexistant) Why can’t this team score goals? (see Schelotto and Rogers) Was the strong start a fluke? (perhaps a little) Is it time to hit the panic button? Not yet, this is still a playoff team in my opinion. Adam Moffat needs to play if available. Ezra should never play on the wing again. Start a youth movement instead. I also would hope the team is looking for more offense. This is a team that still needs a striker, despite as strong start from the offense. I guess I pose this question to Crew fans and interested observers. Is it time to panic?

Note: I am not in the mood to watch last night’s game again. The grades will be coming tomorrow probably.

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