Playoff Pregame 1: Crew @ Wizards
It is the first Crew playoff game in 4 years. I have waited a long time to see the Columbus in the playoffs. I watched the first game in New England four years ago on TV and I missed the home game against New England in 2004 to save up money to go to the Eastern Conference Finals game that never happened. So, I have been looking forward to this for quite some time.
I was amazed to see that Kansas City has not lost at home since losing to the Crew in June. They have also gone 5-1-1 in their last 7 games. They will present a stiff challenge to a Crew team that has had the luxury of coasting for a couple weeks.
Crew on Offense: This is a perfect time for the Schelotto show to get running again. His set pieces are looking good and he has a familiar cast around him. His decisive passes have been missing of late, but if any player can time a return to form, Schelotto can. With the small surface in Kansas City, Rogers and Gaven won’t have as much space to exploit wide. It will be interesting to see how the team sets up the counterattack. The offense may have to rely on the hard work of Moreno to hold up the ball and allow other players to work around him. Kansas City was the site of an offensive breakout earlier this season, I look for the Crew hold possession and find the back of the next at least a couple times.
Crew on Defense: The defense looked good last week, they will have to do it again against a suddenly potent Claudio Lopez. If the Crew can neutralize him, then KC will be in trouble offensively. That job will fall to the Crew’s defender of the year, Chad Marshall. I expect Marshall to dominate the middle of the defense while the rest of the back line prevents the Wizards from breaking through. If the relentless attacks of DC were not able to break through, I feel confident that the Crew can replicate that performance and keep Kansas City off the boards.
Final Thoughts: The Crew are facing a good team that is on a streak. The team is also under a lot of pressure as the Shield winners to go far in the playoffs. KC can steal this game if the Crew come out flat or tight. However, if the Crew play the way they are capable, then I see a Crew win.
Crew 2 – Wizards 0