By Hilary // @hils4crew
This past Saturday, there were fireworks at Mapfre Stadium. Not because the game was fantastic, but because there were actually fireworks after the game. It’s a good thing there were fireworks. Otherwise, the crowd may not have stuck around to watch the whole game as Columbus Crew SC lost to Atlanta United 2-0.
The game seemed choppy from the get go—neither team really finding their flow. It seemed like there were a lot of tiny fouls that constantly got called, and the passing never really seemed to move.
Both goals were scored by Atlanta’s Hector Villalba in the 27’ and 64’. Gregg Berhalter tried subbing in Manneh and Jahn to make a difference like in the previous game, but unlike last game, the subs couldn’t turn the game around. It’s a game that begs to be forgotten.
Some plays that caught my attention:
- On Atlanta’s first goal, Mensah missed a header he should have had. He played more confidently in the second half, winning challenges, and stepping to the ball more, but he still hasn’t found firm footing within the backline.
- Afful also seemed to have moments of struggle having his pocket picked by Almiron in the 11’ that resulted in a sharp shot off the post.
Then, on Tuesday, Crew SC played another unremarkable game against Minnesota United resulting in a 1-0 win for the Black and Gold. Berhalter did some significant changes to his formation most likely due to a combination of poor play against Atlanta and the quick turnaround time between games.
He rolled out a 3-4-3 lining up Naess, Crognale, and Abubakar in the back, resting Higuain who didn’t even dress for the 18, playing Jimenez for Afful, and starting Manneh over Meram who came off the bench in the 63’.
The team didn’t see many chances in the first half, and outside of the last ten minutes of the first half didn’t seem to have much possession either. Although, I don’t think the lineup Berhalter played is meant to be as possession-oriented as our typical formation.
In the second half, Minnesota had many opportunities to attack. Eventually though, Crew SC placed their own attack. Manneh did a spin move to break away from a Minnesota defender. No one else stepped up, giving him space, so he made a shot from outside of the 18 resulting in his second goal in three games.
— Columbus Crew SC (@ColumbusCrewSC) July 6, 2017
After Meram came in, we seemed to have more of an offensive spark. He crossed a ball to Finlay in the 66’ that Finlay missed but should have put away. In the 73’, Meram sent a beautiful through ball to Ola Kamara who just didn’t bend his shot enough to hit the back of the net.
In the 77’, Meram sent another pretty ball to Ola who sent it back to him, but Meram held the ball probably a step too long. While he got the rebound off his own mishit, Meram couldn’t put it away. He had another opportunity in the 80’ when Ola Kamara passed him the ball, but Meram sent it a tad wide of the goal. Regardless, Crew SC ended the game with a win going into an 18-day break from MLS action.
Some thoughts about this game:
- Without Pipa and Meram, we really do lack an offensive spark. There was a different energy when Meram entered the match.
- I thought rookie Abubakar did a nice job in his MLS debut. I thought Abu who has been shaky in some of his previous appearances also played a solid game.
- I was disappointed to see Naess subbed out early in the first half due to what appeared to be an injury. He hasn’t seen much playing time lately, and I think he is one of our stronger CBs. So, I was hoping this would be an opportunity for him to earn his way back to consistently starting.
- This needs to be a formation that Gregg Berhalter uses more often. We ground out a result, and I feel that if we were more comfortable with this formation it would be even more effective. It’d be nice to have other options.
The inconsistency of this Crew SC team always leaves you guessing. Which as a Crew SC fan can be frustrating, but it also makes every game intriguing. Who will show up? We may never know, but I know we will be there cheering for our team.
Featured image courtesy: Columbus Crew facebook
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