Tag Archives: Ethan Finlay

The Tale of Two Teams

Hilary - Columbus Crew/mlsfemale
Official Columbus Crew Reporter

By Hilary // @hils4crew

Yes, it is the tale of two teams–one who gets outscored 5-0 against a team missing two of its starters, and then another team who wins 3-0 giving their opposition few opportunities.   “Who are these two teams?” one might ask.  And the answer will only surprise those who haven’t watched the team struggle for consistency over the past few seasons, Columbus Crew SC.

On Friday, Columbus Crew SC lost 5-0 to Toronto FC who was missing Giovinco and Altidore.  To be honest, I wasn’t watching.  I was playing a soccer game at the time, so I was following the game’s score on my phone.

As I watched a replay of the game, I didn’t find the first 30 minutes as bad as I thought they would be.  Maybe I was prepared for the worst knowing the final score line already.  Mensah’s foul in the 4’ that led to Vazquez’s putting away a PK was bad–it should have been a red card–and Toronto definitely had a lot of dangerous chances.  However, Crew SC had some chances that they should have finished, which would have resulted in a very different match.

Instead, Toronto’s Justin Morrow streaked down the left side of the field and lasered a ball into the net, and Gregg Berhalter subbed off one of our strongest players, Justin Meram, in the 40’.  Toronto followed this with a goal in the 59’ from Vazquez and two more goals when they were down a man after Marco Delgado was sent off in the 81’. 

Counter this match with the match on Wednesday night against Seattle Sounders where we saw a very different Crew SC team.  Justin Meram and Frederico Higuain continued their fantastic seasons starting in the 10’ when Hector Jimenez slid to get a ball, sent it to Higuain who settled and sent it to the bottom left corner of the net.  Later in the 21’, Justin Meram decided to increase the lead as several Seattle defenders backpedaled as he slotted the ball into the same corner as Higuain.  In the 59’, Meram sent a beautiful pass to Kamara who sent a low shot to the bottom right corner bouncing off the inside of the post careening into the back of the net. 

Zack Steffen made two fantastic saves to keep Crew SC solidly in the lead.  One was a diving save stopping a well-hit shot from Lodeiro in the 57’.  Later, he snagged a charging Fernandez’s shot with his left hand.

Random Thoughts:

  • Crew SC need to get Artur signed and off this loan.  He got sick at halftime during the Seattle game and continued to play.  He is a difference maker and is all over the field.  He needs to be in the black and gold next season too and a few more seasons after that if he continues to play as he has.
  • This team plays better with Ethan Finlay.  He may not be assisting or scoring goals, but he draws defenders and makes dangerous runs. 
  • There were many, many times during this game that I yelled look at Raitala or Finlay.  This team needs to switch the field quicker at times especially when their left back is standing there alone.  Also, Finlay makes these great runs, but they either don’t send him the ball when they should or make the pass too late.
  • Lots of people wanted Gregg fired after the Toronto loss.  I just don’t think that will fix the problems we have.  Gregg is a young coach.  This season, he’s starting to make tactical changes, and he is reflective on his decisions.  I continue to have faith, for now, in his direction for the team.
  • The Seattle game had tons more goals in it.  Kamara had a few more he could have put away. 
  • Having pups on the pitch night at Crew SC may have just brought the team luck.  Should it be a reoccurring event?  I guess it just might depend on our next home match’s result.

So, in the last week, we have seem two very different Crew SC teams.  Maybe, they had to hit the low in Toronto to figure out who they are.  Maybe they thought they were the only ones to defeat Toronto so far this season, so it would be easy to do it again.  But, I like the team that showed up against Seattle.  Let’s hope we see this team again on Saturday against Colorado Rapids.

Featured image courtesy: @ColumbusCrewSC

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Ouch, that Hurt

Hilary - Columbus
Official Columbus Crew Reporter

By Hilary // @hils4crew

Saturday, April 29: 2-3 Loss

Had I started writing match recaps last week, I would have started with, “Ouch that hurt,” due to the two injuries and uninspiring play by Columbus Crew SC against the New York Red Bulls.  And this week, I can start with the same line for a myriad of reasons.

Ouch that hurt.  Columbus Crew SC let a come from behind lead slip away resulting in a 3-2 loss against New York City FC.  NYCFC started off with an early lead in the 8th minute with a goal by Jack Harrison.  Columbus Crew SC answered with a goal by Federico Higuaín in the 29th minute entering into halftime with a draw.

Columbus started the second half with promise taking the lead 4 minutes into the second half with a goal by Ola Kamara.  And then, the wheels seemed to come off.  NYCFC answered with two more goals.  One by Yangel Herrera and a second by Jack Harrison. 

Let’s talk about the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful parts of this game. 

The Good:  Federico Higuaín looked like a man driven by a cause for the bulk of this game.  He pressured, he passed, he shot, and he played what I think was one of his strongest games of the season.  This isn’t to say it was perfect.  There were times I felt like he tried to force a few things or put a few too many extra touches on the ball when it should have been passed faster or shot immediately, but it was nice to see his desire to win reflected in his play.  This is the Pipa we need to show up for all of Columbus Crew SC’s matches.

The Bad:  This game was a reminder of a lot of the games we lost last year—bleeding goals at the end of games.  However, I do believe this game might have been salvageable had Gregg subbed a bit earlier than he did.  In fact, I started screaming for him to sub around the 60th minute.  Obviously, Gregg couldn’t hear me from across the field, or I’m sure he would have followed my “expert” advice.  It was evident that after our second goal that we couldn’t possess, and we couldn’t absorb NYCFC’s attack forever.  Had Niko Hansen and Kekuta Manneh been subbed in earlier, this game may have ended up differently.

The Ugly:  NYCFC’s goals.  All three of them were ugly because we should have done better.  Two of their goals were caused by our own bad passes leading to giveaways in our half of the field.  After we lost the ball before their first goal, it seemed as if all the Crew SC players had been paused or put into slow motion as NYCFC tore through our players and scored.  Their last goal was a bad pass into our own box that should have never been placed there in the first place.  This is reminiscent of last year’s defensive woes that we haven’t seen as many times this year.  So, if our defense could just remain in 2017 and not flashback to 2016, we would all appreciate it.

The Beautiful:  Our goals were fun goals to watch.  We just didn’t score enough of them.  Higuaín’s volley from a beautiful Raitala cross was sharp and taken without hesitation.  Not to be outdone, Ola Kamara tried a similar kind of volley a little bit later in the game and almost had another goal.  Our second goal was accomplished by some hustle by Ethan Finlay who rattled a NYCFC defender enough to recover the ball and send it across the middle.  Using some unseen sense, Higuaín let the ball go between his legs with a deft step to a waiting Ola Kamara who sent it into the goal.  I want more of these kind of goals every game, but honestly, I’ll just take more goals than our opponent–even if they aren’t as pretty as these.

All in all, this was a game that should have been a win for Crew SC as NYCFC was missing Pirlo and Villa.  We have a few more home games before hitting the road, and I’m looking forward to seeing who this Crew SC team is.

Featured image courtesy: Columbus Crew facebook

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @hils4crew

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Subscribe + get caught up: Weekly Dispatch 2017