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Pregame 6: Fire @ Crew

April 25, 2009

There isn’t a must win game this early in the season, but things will start to get very uncomfortable for the Crew if they miss out on recording their first win tonight. With only three points in the first five games, Columbus is falling behind the rest of the conference. A win would lift them out of the basement and give the teem a much needed confidence boost. That first win won’t come easy as the Crew face off against the Chicago Fire. The Fire have gotten off to a good start and return a strong team, led by Cuauhtémoc Blanco and Brian McBride.

Crew on Offense: The good news is that the offense should be ready to go. Robbie Rogers returns from injury and Schelotto is in fine form. It has been frustrating to watch the team sputter on offense. The offense did pick up with Ekpo’s speed on the wing against Colorado, and the return of Rogers should only help. It also helps that Adam Moffat should be closer to 90. The Crew played like a different team with him out there. The team transitions from offense to defense much better when he is in the middle.

Crew on Defense: The Crew face of against one of the best collections of offensive talent in the league. McBride and Blanco are competitive veterans. Nyarko and Rolfe add more attacking prowess. The Crew defense will be tested. Marshall is returning to the lineup, but Hejduk and Hesmer will be out tonight. It will have to be more of a team effort to keep the Fire off the board. Zayner had a much better game against Colorado, locking down their potent wingers. A repeat performance would lock down dangerous wingers like Pappa and Thorington. Gruenebaum will be under fire with his first start of the year. He is a solid keeper, like Kevin Hartmann last week Gruenebaum will probably need to make a couple of point blank saves to keep the Crew in the game.

Final Thought: I really thing this is the game the offense starts clicking. A full strength Rogers and Moffat make the Crew a different team. With a very in form Schelotto, the Crew should be able to score at least a couple goals. The key to the result is on defense. Columbus needs to shut down a lot of offensive talent and I think that the Crew can get the performances to get their first win.

Chicago 1 – Crew 2

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