Slaying the Monster
I just finished watching a choppy, clippy online feed of the Crew entering the “Monster Cave” and slaying Saprissa at home. Columbus was without it’s entering starting defense and played with a 2nd string forward line, but still pulled out the first win by an MLS team in Costa Rica San Jose’s Saprissa Stadium (Thanks to Fake Sigi for the correction). Perhaps one of the top 5 wins in Crew history.
It was ugly, bunker and counter soccer after the 5th minute Gaven goal, but it was effective. Hesmer saved the team a half dozen times with key saves. The defense was organized and the midfield kept Saprissa from getting too many close looks at goal.
I was most impressed with the way Warzycha coached this game. He put out an organized team that knew what it was supposed to do. He also adapted when Saprissa started rolling up large amounts of possession. His use of Robbie Rogers as a counterattacking striker helped alleviate the pressure on the midfield and defense. He tried this in Mexico three weeks ago, but I have never seen him use it in MLS. Rogers had three decent breakaways that gave the Crew some much needed possession.
It ultimately was one of the most satisfying wins I have ever seen the Crew play. It was ugly, but it got the team 3 valuable points and vaults them to 2nd in their group with Cruz Azul coming into town next week with a Saprissa rematch coming soon after. Columbus is starting off their toughest stretch of the season with two wins and they are really starting to amaze me.