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Game 11 – Quakes 2 – Crew (07 Version Offense) 0

June 10, 2008

After taking another look at the game, I feel both slightly better and worse about this game. I feel a little better as the Crew were not bereft of ideas on the offensive end, but I feel worse because this game was reminiscent of last year’s offensive woes. The Crew last scored in league play four games ago. That is over 360 minutes of offensive futility.

The Quakes came out quickly and the 10th minute goal was the perfect coda to their strong start. The goal came after Ronnie O’Brien was given a little bit too much space on the sideline by Jed Zayner. O’Brien unleashed a perfect cross that Ezra Hendrickson was late getting to. Ryan Johnson got on the end of the cross and put it past a flat footed William Hesmer to put San Jose up 1-0.

It was obvious that the offense was not performing midway through the first half as the team started resorting to long balls. Chad Marshall and Frankie Hejduk would receive a short distribution and turn to boot it up field. I was glad to see Hesmer playing a short ball, but that effort was defeated by the back line. Repeated long balls would fly over the field players and land within reach of Quakes ‘keeper Joe Cannon. The offensive scheme of earlier this year was nowhere to be found as Rogers and Schelotto were effectively taken out of the game. I think the Crew would be playing differently if Moffat were not injured, but it falls to Brian Carroll and Brad Evans to link the offense with the defense.

The Crew would get a substantial amount of possession towards the end of the 1st half. Emmanuel Ekpo tried to spur the offense with several runs, but with the performance of the offense so far, the Crew were going to have to equalize off of a set piece. They would have many set piece opportunities. Schelotto is reportedly a great dead ball specialist, but he has not really put the ball into many dangerous situations. I would have expected the Crew to put at least one header on goal, but most fell harmlessly out of danger. It was indicative of the state of the Crew offense when the best chance was Jed Zayner’s left footed blast from 30 yards out that caromed off the crossbar.

The 2nd half would see San Jose come out strong again and extend their lead to 2-0 in the 60th minute. Andy Iro, subbed in for an injured Chad Marshall, committed a foul deep along the end line. O’Brien’s free kick found Ramiro Corrales. Corrales put it past Hesmer and any hope of a Crew comeback were extinguished. I could complain about the marking on the header (thanks Brad Evans) or the weak foul that set it up, but at this point I was in a state of shock and flashing back to the last three years of Crew ineptitude.

The Crew tried to strike back and did put a ball in the back of the net in the 66th minute, unfortunately Moreno had used his hand instead of his head (while being hit from behind) and the goal was called back. A strong performance by Ekpo was cut short when he was subbed in the 73rd minute for Eddie Gaven. The Crew would press for the rest of the game, but they only confirmed my suspicions that I was watching a previous year’s version of the Crew offense.

The game would then completely fall apart as both sides would rack up the cards. Ricardo Salazar started cracking down on the San Jose fouling, bringing out the several yellow cards. Brad Evans would not be outdone, hacking down Kelly Gray with a very late tackle earning a red card. My wife’s least favorite player, Eric Denton, responded with a trip of Hejduk that was a shade late earning a yellow card. James Riley would finally earn his second yellow on a late challenge. The Crew would unleash a barrage of shots, but San Jose would earn the shutout.

An great start to the season had been squandered and I saw something in the Crew that I had not seen this year, they put their heads down. The Crew players looked defeated. The offense looked out of ideas and the defense is the walking wounded. The Crew are going through a tough stretch of the season and have not scored a goal in a month. All the hope and positive energy the team build over the first two months is evaporating. Welcome back old Crew.

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