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Want You To Be Happier

Official Columbus Crew Reporter

By Hilary // @hils4crew

“I want you to be happier.” These are the lyrics that played through the loud speakers as I left Mapfre Stadium after the Columbus Crew faced the Chicago Fire on Saturday. It was like the team was telling us they knew that they wanted fans to be happier. That they knew they weren’t executing the game as they should and could. And they weren’t.

On the Crew’s first official Alumni Night, complete with jerseys that listed all the players that had worn that number before, the Crew couldn’t pull out the win and ended up with a 1-1 result.

The Crew had several opportunities for goals in the first half from Santos, Argudo, Maloney, Afful, Diaz, and Zardes, and limited Chicago to only one dangerous attempt by Przemyslaw Frankowski. In the 27′, the Crew’s attempts paid off when Pedro Santos carried the ball down the sideline, into the center of the field, and took a shot from outside the 18 that hit the back of the net to give the Crew the lead.

Then at halftime, which was the highlight of the evening for me, all of the alumni who had returned to Mapfre were introduced. As they were introduced, the alumni were given a scarf from one of the original Crew season ticket holders that are still season ticket holders today. These alumni included Edson Buddle, Jeff Cunningham, Dante Washington, Gino Padula, Alejandro Moreno, and Frankie Hejduk just to name a few.

In the second half, the game seemed unremarkable for the Crew but the Fire seemed to bring some danger. Eloy Room made a great save in the 82′ to keep the Crew in the lead. However, in the fourth minute of stoppage time, the Crew gave away the lead when Aleksandar Gaitan passed a ball through the Columbus box to Frankowski who was streaming in unmarked on the backside of the net. He buried it to tie the game. After Chicago found the equalizer, the Crew made many attempts to get another goal but didn’t.

Thoughts about the Match

This team can’t play on their heels. They have given away so many goals in the same fashion as they did in this game because they are passing the ball around or giving it away in their third of the field. They need to continue to attack. They have not had a game where they have been dangerous the entire time, and every time they have a half where they are not attacking, they give up silly goals.

Eloy Room deserves a shut out. He’s been a phenomenal replacement for Zach Steffen, but the team has not rallied to help give him a clean sheet yet.

Connor Maloney is essentially a fourth string left back and didn’t even play defense in college. Despite his first shaky start against Cincinnati a few weeks back, Maloney has played admirably. Hopping above people twice his size to get headers, running at full speed to make recovery runs, and letting off a wicked shot this week, it’s nice to see a player making strides when given an opportunity.

I continue to appreciate the new ownership. Seeing them embrace the alumni–the foundation of the club–and celebrate our heritage makes me excited to see what they continue to do in the future. Now, if they could just get Eddie Gaven back for an alumni night…

Let’s hope that after a week off, the Crew can make me happier when they face Atlanta United on September 14th.

Featured image: @ColumbusCrewSC

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @hils4crew

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Slowly Making Strides

Official Columbus Crew Reporter

By Hilary // @hils4crew

The Columbus Crew played another three games in an eight day stretch, and with each game showed improvement.

A Loss in Orlando

First, the Crew played Orlando away from home. The line-up was different than what we have seen recently. It was essentially a 4-3-3. Francis, Sauro, Josh Williams, and Afful in the back. Artur, Trapp, and Guzman were in the midfield. Argudo, Zardes and Santos were the attacking three.

Both teams had some chances in the first half, but Orlando got the winning goal in the 84′ with a beautiful ball from Lamine Sane to an unmarked Benji Michel streaking between Josh Williams and Harrison Afful.

The Crew spent the remaining time repeatedly trying to score on Orlando but failing to do so. Afful had a nice shot in the 88′ that required a diving save from Rowe. In stoppage time, Afful sent a ball to Gyasi Zardes who headed it directly down into the ground in front of him instead of at the goal. Zardes had a second header that almost went in on a great service from Waylon Francis.

This game resulted in several injuries for the Crew. Both Guzman and Sauro are working back from injuries from this match, but the worst was an egregious foul on Josh Williams by Dom Dwyer who threw an elbow at Josh’s face. This resulted in a red card for Dwyer who took his sweet time leaving the field. At the end of stoppage time, Orlando kept their 1-0 lead.

A Draw in Chicago

On Wednesday, the Crew played the Chicago Fire. The Crew shifted their line up again. With the multiple games in 8 days, injuries, and call-ups, I am not sure how many times we have fielded the same starting line-up this season.

In the 28′, the Fire struck first with a nice hit by Djordje Mihailovic from right at the top of the 18. Djordje was given a little too much space by the Crew defense.

However, the Crew quickly responded in the second half with a ball from Sosa to Argudo to Zardes who put the ball in the net. In the 63′, the Fire took back the lead when a back heel pass from Gaitan bounced off Hector Jimenez to CJ Sarpong. Sarpong turned with the ball and scored.

The Crew tied up the game with the help of two recent acquisitions. Luis Diaz sent in a ball to Romario Williams who headed the ball into the net to end the game in a 2-2 tie.

A Win at Home against Montreal

This past Saturday, the Crew returned home and played the Montreal Impact. The Crew played a 4-3-2-1. The back four were Afful, Josh Williams, Keita , and Francis. Trapp and Artur played defensive midfield with Argudo, Santos, and Accam playing the attacking midfield roles. Gyasi Zardes was up top. Our new keeper, Eloy Room, made his first team start.

The Crew opened up the scoring early with a set piece from Wil Trapp that Josh Willams headed in the net in the 6′.

In the 14′, Montreal almost tied up the ball with their own free kick, but the cross bar prevented a goal twice, and in the 18′, Room made his first big save with the Crew from another Montreal free kick. However, the Crew couldn’t keep denying the Impact. Diallo was able to put in a corner during stoppage time of the first half to head into half-time with a 1-1 tie.

The Crew scored in the 46′ on a goal that almost wasn’t. David Accam scored a goal going around the keeper on a ball from Pedro Santos. Initially, Accam was ruled offsides. However, the officials decided to go to VAR and found that Accam was onside–giving the Crew a 2-1 lead, which they held until the end of the game.

Thoughts About the Team

The new additions are going to help this team immensely. We are continuing to add to this roster as the Crew has brought in midfielder Youness Mokhtar, and Scottish player Chris Caden. Caden will remain on loan to Oxford United FC until next season. Luis Diaz has already made some great plays. Eloy Room looked great in his first start, and Romario Williams scored in his first Crew appearance.

In addition, the great play of Pedro Santos and Luis Argudo should not go unnoticed, and David Accam has also been playing well since his return from injury.

This improvement in form may have come too late for this year’s team to make a strong run at or in the playoffs. However, it’s the MLS, so anything can happen. Let’s hope the Crew continue their slow and steady improvement in their next away match this Saturday against the New York Red Bulls.

Featured image:Β @ColumbusCrewSC

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @hils4crew

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