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: @ColumbusCrewSC
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