Tag Archives: Josh Williams

Wrapping Up the Home Games With A Win

Official Columbus Crew Reporter

By Hilary // @hils4crew

With a sold-out crowd for what should have been a pleasant fall game, the rain began to fall, causing a delay at halftime.  However, the weather didn’t dampen the play, nor did the fact that Caleb Porter started three central midfielders (Guzman, Trapp, and Artur) that tend to be more defensively minded. Despite the weather and roster shakeup, the Columbus Crew beat the Philadelphia Union 2-0 for the 200th home club win.  

While there weren’t a ton of opportunities in the first half with Philadelphia having more possession than the Crew, Luis Diaz made nice attempts at goals in the 15’ and 24’.

After a delayed second half, both teams came out a little more dangerous.  The Union almost started the half with goal in the 51’ by Kacper Przybylko who was stopped by Eloy Room.  

Then, Youness Mokhtar, who was subbed in on the 57’ for David Guzman, tried to get his first Crew goal by taking a shot in the 60’ after some solid passing from Artur and Diaz.

In the 64’, Philadelphia’s Jamiro Monteiro escaped his defender, making a run towards a cross by Ilsinho, and hitting it over the top of the net.

In the 68’, Gyasi Zardes recovered the ball the at the Crew’s own 18, sent a beautiful pass to Diaz who then laid it off to Pedro Santos.  Pedro sent a cheeky little pass out to Mohktar who almost dribbled too much to get off a shot. But he did get the ball off his foot, and in the 69’, Youness scored his first Crew goal.  

A lot of credit for this moment goes to Gyasi, who after making the pass to Diaz, sped down the field drawing two Philadelphia defenders towards him. This left his Crew teammates with more space to pass and move the ball.

Artur tried to continue the goals with a nice shot from distance in the 72’.  This shot resulted in a deflection from the Philadelphia keeper, Andre Blake, and a corner kick for the Crew. 

During the corner kick, Blake punched the ball out to an open Pedro Santos who took a one touch shot into the goal.

While this lead felt good, we have seen the Crew lose too many leads in the waning minutes of a game. However, with a few great saves, the Crew was able to hold on to their 2-0 lead and give Eloy Room his first shut-out as a Crew keeper.

Thoughts About the Game:

It was nice to see the Crew play a solid game from start to finish against a team near the top of the Eastern Conference table.  While Philadelphia had its opportunities, the Crew limited them and held on to their lead. If this Crew team had showed up during the long middle of the season losing streak, we might be in the playoffs right now. 

I am excited about the future of this team in so many ways. There is a new stadium coming in 2021; the front office is committed to this team, the supporters, and the city; and Caleb Porter has brought on some great players this year.  The end of the season is always sad for me though, as it is inevitable that we have witnessed several players who have worn their Crew jerseys for the final time. 

I know for teams to evolve the players on the field need to change too.  But I hope this isn’t the last season I see Pipa, Trapp, Josh Williams, and several others in the black and gold.  The reason I hate the end of the season is because I never feel we get to say a proper good-bye and thank you to those guys—because I believe a lot of these guys after dealing with what they had to the past few seasons—do in fact–bleed black and gold.

So, I will enjoy watching the Crew take on Toronto FC in the final game of the season and hold on to the memories of 2019.

Featured image: @ColumbusCrewSC

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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: @ColumbusCrewSC

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @hils4crew

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Depleted Crew Hold On Against Revolution

By Hilary // @hils4crew

The Crew came up with a 1-0 win against the New England Revolution on Saturday, April 6th.  The line-up was essentially the same as the last game except for Hector Jimenez who started in Harrison Afful’s typical spot.  Harrison Afful broke his jaw in a collision with a teammate in the waterlogged game last week in Columbus and will be out a minimum of six weeks.  The Crew have lost both their starting outside backs to injury this year. At least, we will see Afful again this season, while Milton Valenzuela, the left back, remains out for the season.

New England seemed to be the better team for much of the game.  It started off with a dangerous shot by Jalil Anibaba from outside the 18 yard box that a diving Zack Steffen saved.  In the 41’, the Crew’s defense continued their scoring run of the season with a Josh Williams header from a Federico Higuain free kick.  This assist tied Higuain for the most club assists with other Crew legend Robert Warzycha. Williams, who even went to Endeavor Brewing Company to celebrate with fans when the initial Saved the Crew announcement was made, ran over to the Nordecke to celebrate his goal with the fans.

In the 49’, Jonathan Mensah almost put another header in off a Pipa corner kick to continue the defensive line scoring trend, but was denied by midfielder Scott Caldwell with a goal line clearance.

In the 64’, defender Michael Mancienne took out Higuain resulting in his second yellow card of the night.  From that moment on, New England would be playing a man down. However, with the exception of one play in the second half, a beautiful ball from Jimenez to Gyasi Zardes for a header attempt in the 81’, the Crew seemed to be the team playing a man down.

New England continued to attack and almost evened up the score in the 88’.  Buchanan passed a very short ball to Teal Bunbury who crossed the ball right in front of the goal. Jimenez chested it towards Zack Steffen, but Cristian Penilla of New England was there to try and finish the ball into the back of the net.  Steffen stepped in front of the ball sending it away. Soon after, the final whistle blew.

Thoughts on the match:

This game had a lot of fouls.  The Crew committed 16 fouls while New England committed 10.  It was a chippy game, and the ref should have gotten a handle on it earlier.

During the game, Hector Jimenez went down right before half and looked to be in pain.  He was able to return into the match and finish out the game. I only hope that he stays healthy as we don’t have an experienced player who can fill that spot.  

I’m not sure what the coaching directions were once we went a man up.  It seemed to be play keep away by passing the ball in our own half of the field.  This was not a good strategy as a few bad passes led to some good attempts by New England to punish us for our mistakes.  The Crew should have been attacking or at least playing keep away further down the field.

Once again, Zack Steffen kept us in the match with several incredible saves.   We need a quality replacement for him, or we need to figure out how to clone him before he moves to Manchester City in June.

Finally, while I feel our defense played a solid game, our offense seemed a little lost. We need to figure out a way to get the offense clicking.  We can’t depend on our defensive players scoring all our goals for the rest of the season.

We will see if the offense can get it going this upcoming Saturday when the Crew play away against the Montreal Impact.

Featured image: @ColumbusCrewSC

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @hils4crew

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Crew SC Unbeaten in Seven

Hilary - Columbus Crew/mlsfemale
Official Columbus Crew Reporter

By Hilary // @hils4crew

Saturday, September 23: 3-2 Win

While the calendar says September, Saturday night at Mapfre Stadium felt like the middle of July as Columbus Crew SC took on the New York Red Bulls in the continued hunt for a playoff spot.

Crew SC rolled out the same line-up that started at Vancouver with two exceptions–Mensah returned at centerback and Justin Meram returned to left wing.  This time, however, we had a different result than Vancouver with a 3-2 win for the Black and Gold.

Scoring started with Crew SC in the 6’ as Higuain sent in a free kick that Mensah headed into the net.  You could see the joy on the center back’s face as he celebrated his goal with the team. 

New York was quick to tie it up in the 14’.  Columbus felt one of the New York players had been offsides, but the AR did not make the call and Bradley Wright-Phillips finished the goal.  BWP was given much too much space regardless.  With a goal scorer like that, defenders should not give him any space. 

Santos was fouled in the 39’, but the ref let play continue on to the Crew’s advantage.  Ola Kamara, virtually alone as a defender tried to catch up with him, tried to chip the keeper to tie the game, but he overshot the goal.  Kamara continues to miss the chances you think he should finish and finish shots that look nearly impossible.

Crew SC took the lead again in the 54’ when Meram took on two New York defenders and shot the ball into the net.

In the 66’, Josh Williams who apparently didn’t want to be outdone by his center back partner decided it was time for a goal.  His first since 2013.  He headed in a Higuain corner kick for goal number three of the game.

New York wasn’t done yet.  In the 69’, Mensah fouled Gonzola Veron.  There was some heated argument from both sides as the foul occurred outside the field of play but kept Veron from getting to the ball.  After video review, the Red Bulls were granted the penalty kick, which Veron finished. 

Crew SC was able to hold the Red Bulls off resulting in a victory and 3 more points toward making the playoffs.

Some thoughts on the match:

Pipa had all three assists in this match.  He continues to show why he is a central cog for this team

Meram scored a goal.  It was pretty.  However, there are a lot of times when he should pass and doesn’t.  I don’t want him to stop trying to take on defenders.  I just wish his judgment on when to do this and when to pass would improve.

The refs in this game were horrible.  As a player, I was always taught you play the refs’ game.  Arguing calls wasn’t going to help, so you don’t.  Those words to live by would have gone down the drain had I been a player on the field on Saturday night.  I think the officiating wasn’t great for either team.

After the Red Bulls scored their second goal, I grew concerned that this would turn into another game like Vancouver where they scored to tie it up near the end of the game.  Or, it would be like earlier in the season where we gave away a lead.  I was pleased to see that Crew SC can finish out a match as I’m sure this skill will be necessary if we plan on winning any playoff games.

I do not understand Sacha Kljestan’s moustache.  Please someone explain it to me….

This season has gone incredibly fast and next Saturday is Columbus Crew SC’s last regular season home game against DC United.  It would be nice to get 3 points from this match and help solidify a playoff spot.

Featured image courtesy: @ColumbusCrewSC

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @hils4crew

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Crew vs Rapids

Hilary - Columbus Crew/mlsfemale
Official Columbus Crew Reporter

By Hilary // @hils4crew

Saturday, June 3: 2-1 Loss

Another lead given away, another 3 points dropped, and the cries for a coaching change are growing louder as the Colorado Rapids defeated Columbus Crew SC 2-1 on Saturday night.  Berhalter sent out a different formation than normal, essentially a 3-4-2-1, with three centerbacks in the back—Williams, Crognale, and Naess

There wasn’t a ton to write back home about in the first half.  Crew SC had a few nice chances that they couldn’t seem to finish. 

  • In the 11’, Meram sent a pretty ball through to Kamara who just couldn’t get to it. 
  • Later in the 18’, Wil Trapp got a cleared ball from a Crew SC corner kick, sent a pass to Francis, who sent a gorgeous ball to Pipa, who got it to Kamara who just didn’t get it finished. 
  • In the 26’, Afful sent a mini-chip between two Rapid defenders to Higuain, who sent it to Meram.  However, it was intercepted by the defense before Meram could get to it. 

The Rapids were really limited in opportunities until the 30’ where they had multiple chances including one that forced Steffen to make a double save against Colorado’s Gashi in the 33’.  It’s difficult to explain, but I just didn’t sense extreme intensity radiating from anyone (outside of Pipa) during the first half until about the 33’ when the Rapids had multiple chances. 

The second half seemed to start with more intensity from both sides. 

  • In the 61’, Crew SC broke it open when Justin Meram sent a ball to Higuain who was left open slightly outside the Rapids 18. 
  • Pipa took the shot as Colorado’s Azira came in to challenge the ball. 
  • The shot deflected off of Azira into the Rapid’s net. 

I’m not going to lie.  At this point, I felt pretty good about the possibility of winning this game.  Colorado is at the bottom of the table, and while the Rapids had some good chances earlier in the game, I felt like we had limited their opportunities fairly well.  I had put the earlier leads lost by Crew SC behind me. 

Letting my guard down was a mistake as Colorado scored two goals between the 80’ and 86’.  The 80’ goal found Hairston running through the middle of the field without much of a challenge, allowing him to send the ball to Mo Saied, who crossed it to two Rapid players running unmarked to the backside of our goal where Kevin Doyle was able to finish it.  Then in the 86’, Gordon, essentially unmarked on the backside of the goal, headed the ball in giving Colorado the lead. 

Another lead that Crew SC let slip away.

Random thoughts:

  1. Before the game, I tweeted we should bring Mo Saied back with us.  I don’t know if he’d make a difference on the field for us or not, but I miss Mo’s positive presence.  I did find it amusing that the guy defending him for the majority of the night—Josh Williams–was one of the few Columbus defenders Mo never played with during his time with Crew SC. 
  2. Although our current Mo, Mohammed Abu, had what I thought was a solid game.  He flows much better with his teammates than he did earlier in the season.   
  3. Pipa continues a dominant 2017.  He played another good game and for that, and his game against Seattle, made MLS Team of the Week
  4. While Gregg rolled out a different formation, I wish he had also subbed a bit earlier especially in the higher elevation with a lead.
  5. I will be very disappointed if Meram and Pipa do not get chosen for the MLS All-Star team in some capacity.

Our next game is an Open Cup match against FC Cincinnati on June 14th.  I’m not sure what line up Berhalter will roll out as we have a MLS match against Atlanta United three days later.  Here’s to a win and all players staying healthy throughout that Open Cup game.  (I still miss watching you play Eddie Gaven.) 

Featured image courtesy: @ColumbusCrewSC

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @hils4crew

Check us out on instagram @mlsfemale

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