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November 4, 2009

There is some nervous energy amongst the Crew and their fans. I could sense it when I went to the rally last night for my Columbus Underground story (a story which is now up). The team hasn’t played their best and faces elimination and an early end to the season.

This is not a lighthearted group right now. They haven’t scored in almost a month. There is that bit of controversy about Schelotto not starting. Quite a few of the players gave the required quotes about a do or die game and dreaming about the Cup, but the stress of being number one was apparent on many of the players faces.

There isn’t the looseness that I have seen before; this team is all business. Frankie Hejduk had a few words for the assembled masses about taking the game to visiting Real Salt Lake. Jed Zayner talked about the home crowd being the fuel to drive the team forward, but the realities of being the favorite are really starting to set in. They are the marked men, Salt Lake took a good shot at them on Saturday and now are 90 minutes away from knocking out the champs.

I guess that’s why I found the loosest and most relaxed person at the rally was Coach Warzycha. He even joked about the Guille controversy by saying “I read a lot this week so I am now clear on who will play on Thursday.” For all of the criticism that came his way this week, Robert is looking past it to the game. A Crew win and he will look like a genius.

With a goalless streak and 3 straight losses, this is a team that is playing tight. The longer the game goes on Thursday without a goal; the tighter I bet they get. Sometimes goal scoring is more mental that physical. An early goal may just open the floodgates and restore a little confidence and swagger to the champs. Without that championship swagger, home field advantage won’t be enough.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Tom permalink
    November 5, 2009 12:24 pm

    I am worried. The obvious problem is in the CM. Nothing dangerous is happening there (compared to Evans last year) and neither are very good passers so will not create. Easily solved by putting Gaven there and moving Ekpo on right with Frankie and Robbie is traditional spot on the right. having a dangerous CM also forces RSL to makr tightly.

    But its not going to happen. Indications are that Robbie Rogers will probably not even play although he if anyone on the team can spark an offense he can when he gets going with some decent balls to his feet or in space.

    This is clearly RW’s team and its going to be won or lost RW’s way and he has not yet shown the flexibility needed (note: it took Sigi years to get flexible)

    Odds are the Crew struggles in this one unless GBS can connect with Marshall on a set play. But that means someone has to be dangerous and win some corners.

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