Pregame 26: Galaxy @ Crew
Another week, another top team for the Crew to face. Columbus has downed West leader Houston at home two weeks ago and tied the 2nd place team in the East, Chicago Fire, at Toyota Park last week. The Los Angeles Galaxy come in to Crew Stadium tonight in a game that again has playoff and Supporter Shield implications.
Crew on Offense: The team is square in the middle of 5 games in two weeks. Balancing minutes on to keep players fresh will be very important. Moreno, Lenhart, Schelotto, and Rogers have played a lot of minutes in the past week. Again Warzycha will have to turn to the other players in the first team rotation.
Renteria, Garey, Gaven, and Ekpo are the freshest options for the Crew and would allow the Crew to play a normal 4-4-2. Garey and Renteria are physical forwards, allowing the wingers to play off of them. It is a testament to how the team is built as no matter who is out on the field, Columbus doesn’t need to shift tactics aside from the obvious role that Schelotto plays. No matter who is out there, expect the Crew to play a quick passing game with emphasis on the wingers probing the flanks of the defense.
Crew on Defense: Again the Crew have no Chad Marshall in the back. Eric Brunner has played well most of the year, but seems to be fatiguing. Padula has been a stalwart presence on the backline. A possible rotation and injuries are starting to stretch the Crew defense. Again, this is where the team depth is useful. Andy Iro and Jed Zayner will have to step up if called upon to fill in on the backline to counter the Galaxy’s many threats.
The central midfield will be key to choking off the Galaxy danger. Landon Donovan, driving out of deep positions and Edson Buddle being very mobile. Brian Carroll will be tasked with sealing up these avenues and slowing down the breakaways.
Final Thoughts: With so many games in a short time, the Crew are bound to stumble sometime. I am a little more prone to think that will be next week against Seattle. I think the Crew have enough to put away a short handed Galaxy team.
Crew 2 – L.A. 1