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
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