Game 13 – Crew @ Galaxy Pregame
It is a good thing the Crew offense got back to it’s scoring ways last week as they travel to LA to take on the high scoring Galaxy. This will be a much more challenging test than hapless Kansas City was last week. Hejduk rejoins the squad to shore up the defense, Brad Evans is available off of his red card suspension, and Nicolas Hernandez is available for selection coming off an injury. This will be a true test to see if the Crew are back on track.
Crew on Offense
Robbie Rogers and Emmanuel Ekpo are the keys to breaking down LA. Rogers will have to exploit the space behind Beckham and Klein on the left side and Ekpo will have to work on Jazic and Randolph down the right. Moreno must continue to find the seams in the defense and LA will have plenty of seams. Schelotto, given time, should have options available. I he is able to pick out the options then the Crew should have multiple opportunities at goal. The LA defense is bad, but improving. The Crew must exploit the soft middle of Xavier at center back and Pires in the holding midfield role while probing from the wings. I can certainly see the Crew taking advantage of the chances they have. They must because the defense will have it’s hands full and will be unlikely to get another shutout.
Crew on Defense
The performance from the Crew defense will determine the outcome of the game. After a strong performance against a anemic team last week, LA will provide much sterner defensive challenge. The Galaxy have Donovan back to pair with a resurgent Edson Buddle. The middle of the Crew defense will have to clamp down of the space that Buddle gets and to choke off the runs that Donovan can make. I believe Marshall and O’Rourke can handle Buddle, but I would really like to see the Oughton and Carroll pairing from last week to counter the speed and skill of Donovan by clogging the middle. Evans is available, but I think that he would not be able to put in the defensive work needed to contain Donovan’s runs out of the midfield. It also appears that Ryan Junge’s second start will be a stern task as he squares off against David Beckham. Beckham has unparalleled skill on the wings and Junge will have limit his chance to cross the ball or otherwise get involved.
I really cannot decide which way this game will go. This could be a 4-1 stomping by LA, a 3-3 tie, or a 4-3 shootout win for the Crew. Ultimatly, the game will turn on the performances in central midfield and on the left wing. If the Crew win those individual battles, they will win. I think the task will be too tall for both Oughton and Junge and the Crew fall on the road.
Crew 2 – LA 4