Tag Archives: Ethan Finlay

A Team Win for the Crew

Hilary - Columbus Crew/mlsfemale
Official Columbus Crew Reporter

By Hilary // @hils4crew

Saturday, August 12: 3-1 Win

It was a fun night at Mapfre Stadium Saturday night as Columbus Crew SC defeated the Chicago Fire 3-1. It was a match that could have had a lot more goals in it, but both teams struggled to put away some chances. Crew SC rolled out the same line up they have been sticking with as of late a 3-5-2-1. Some highlights and thoughts on the match:

Crew SC came out attacking and pressuring the ball early. However, they did not keep possession for most of the game. This is one of the few times I don’t feel like the lack of possession hurt them. They may be figuring out how to make this formation successful for themselves.

In the 13’, the Fire scored. Our defense including Steffen just decided Michael deLeeuw was offside, but the refs didn’t agree. This is Soccer 101. Don’t stop playing until the whistle is blown. The Fire has been dominant with wins when scoring first, but not this time….

Artur continues to be the Energizer Bunny on the field. However, he may want to work on his shooting. Artur had many different opportunities to score a goal. The one mentioned above in the 2’, a header in the 5’, and not being able to finish a Manneh cross in the 11’.

Kekuta Manneh’s goal in the 18’ was an example of being at the right place at the right time and being able to finish that opportunity. Artur took a shot that deflected off a Fire defender right to Manneh who was able to put the ball in the back of the net.

The second goal in the 73’ was the result of vintage Francis cross to Meram. It is what got Francis to the All-Star Game in 2015, and it is why I believe Waylon should remain the starter on that side of the field. He also made a key defensive play in the 77’ when he took the ball from a Fire player who would have had an uncontested shot.

Meram scored our second goal, and it was a beauty. It was the 1,000 Crew SC goal. There were times during this game that I was in awe of his movements, and then there were times when I wondered why he was taking extra touches and losing the ball instead of passing it. If Pipa really does leave the Crew SC next year, Meram will have to fine-tune a bit to become the playmaker on this team. I’m confident he can do it.

Harrison Afful played just the first half working himself back from injury. This was a solid performance from Afful, which we haven’t seen a lot this season. It makes me wonder if he’s had lingering injuries for the majority of the season even when he was playing.

This was a must-win game for Crew SC. They are just above the playoff line, and they need to prove that they are a team to contend with. They did, and it was fun to watch.

Schweinsteiger was not as big of a factor in this game as I thought he would be. I don’t know if that’s because of where he was playing or how we played against him.

It was nice to see Matt Lampson back in Mapfre stadium. I really miss his “Off The Post” video clips when he was with Crew SC. If you have never seen them, you should go to YouTube and watch. One time he talked about his favorite song by Amy Grant. Watching those clips usually resulted in me laughing with tears streaming from my eyes. I’m not sure the PK call should have been one. I’ve watched replays, and I still can’t decide. Either way, it was a rough game for Lampson.

On a personal note, for those of you who follow me on Twitter, you know that I am a huge Ethan Finlay fan—my dog is even named after him. His trade to Minnesota broke my heart. While some felt it was time for him to go, I was hoping Ethan would be a Crew SC lifer. He gave 100% every time he was on the field and just exemplified to me what it meant to be a Crew SC player.

My only regret is that I never got to meet Ethan. I wish nothing but the best for Ethan Finlay, and I’ll be paying more attention to Minnesota from now on. I hope they realize what an amazing player and person they have on their team. My last 3 favorite players have either retired or been traded, so I’m trying not to have another favorite player. I don’t know if my heart can take it.

At the conclusion of this match, I couldn’t decide who should be Man of the Match. Overall, everyone played well. It was a team win. This is the way I believe a successful game should feel.

We play Orlando City this Saturday, and to continue our winning ways from this match, we need to continue to have all our players firing on all cylinders. I look forward to watching.

Featured image courtesy: @ColumbusCrewSC

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @hils4crew

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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

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @hils4crew

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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