Pregame 30: United @ Crew
The last game of the regular season is usually a special time, saying farewell to another disappointing season while making plans to see another meaningless November friendly. While Columbus does not have anything to play for today, it is for a different reason. The team wrapped up the Supporters Shield two weeks ago and already know they will face Kansas City in the first round of the playoffs.
While there is nothing to play for in the standings; there are two things that will be driving the Crew today against D.C., getting sharp before the playoffs and knocking the United out of the postseason. Coach Schmid is expected to run out the starters in an effort to regain some game sharpness. I also imagine Duncan Oughton and Frankie Hejduk can express the importance of the D.C. United rivalry to the newer players on the team.
Crew on Offense: It is back the the flying offensive setup that has scored goals all season long. Schelotto is finally fit, Gaven and Rogers will be flying down the wings and workhorse Alejandro Moreno will be holding up the ball and getting it to the offensive threats that surround him. My hope is that Schelotto finds Moreno for a goal, getting Schelotto to 20 assists and Moreno to 10 goals on the season. It think it will be a fitting reward for the both of them. Any way you look at the Crew offense they have enough weapons to score goals without even counting the presence that Marshall provides on set pieces.
Crew on Defense: This is the part of the team that has struggled a bit lately. The defense was loose against Chicago and it still was probalematic with Iro and Hendrickson last week. The good news is that everybody should be back this week. Hejduk and Padula will guard the flanks while Marshall and O’Rourke will be in the center of the defense. That will be handy against Emilio today and against Lopez next week. I know Carroll is going to provide that solid play in the middle of the park. I do hope that Evans will get back to the form he had about a month ago. He is vital in helping turn defense to offense and playing that linking roll between the two.
Final Thought: If the Crew come out flat, D.C. will take advantage. I don’t expect Coach Schmid to allow that to happen. I don’t expect the starters on this team to allow that to happen.
Crew 2 – D.C. 1