Pregame 30: Revolution @ Crew
The Crew has already sealed up the best record in the league and the Supporters Shield for the 2nd straight year. New England has everything to play for. If they win or tie, they make the playoffs. If they lose, it’s a very long offseason. The Crew were in the same position last year and played a poor game, but still won on a moment of brilliance by Brad Evans.
This year the Crew may have a little more to play for. They can shape who they play. Win and it’s Colorado, lose or tie, it’s another trip to Salt Lake. This is also a team with two losses already this month. It’s also a team that has one goal in league play this month as well. I am sure they would love nothing better than to get into a rhythm and get a win.
Crew on Offense: The Crew are suddenly anemic on offense. Columbus can hold possession, but are lacking any real threat around the goal. The team is also bogging down when the ball is played down the wings. Opposing teams are bunkering when the ball goes wide and the forwards are outnumbered when the ball is played in.
I would prefer to see more pressure up the middle, but two holding players in midfield make that difficult. One prescription is to see the wings cut in on the dribble and get width from overlapping wide backs. Gaven is very good on the dribble and does well to cut in. I want to see this more from Rogers. He can break down an opponent one on one, but is left on the wing when he stays wide.
The Crew could also reposition the central midfield. Adam Moffat has seen a lot of time on the bench recently, and as much of a fan I am of Burns, I would like to see what he can do coming up the middle. Schelotto could also drop back to provide creativity from a central position, playing in more of a withdrawn role. I wouldn’t mind seeing what the Crew could do with more of an offensive posture in the center of the field.
Crew on Defense: No Chad Marshall again, but the defense has shown that they can shut down most offenses, no matter who is back there. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a mostly starting back line with Padula, Hejduk, O’Rourke, and Brunner on the backline. They will have to contend with a New England team that will be looking to get at least an insurance goal and assure their place in the playoffs.
I am still concerned with Hesmer’s ability to handle the balls in the air. He has shown a worrying lack of command as balls are sent in, most glaringly on Puerto Rico’s goal on Tuesday. Cutting off crosses will be important to reduce this risk.
Final Thoughts: So much of this game depends on how the Crew comes out of the locker room. They have looked slow and a little tired lately. It has been a long season with a lot of injuries. A little confidence going into the playoffs will go a long way. I however see a continuing lack of offensive sharpness.
Revs 1 – Crew 1