By Hilary // @hils4crew
Well, I have been absent from writing due to some work and travel obligations, and it’s hard to recognize the team now that I am back. Between trades, injuries, and loans, this team is a dramatically different one than the one I left six weeks ago.
The Columbus Crew have traded Justin Meram to Atlanta and loaned out Lalas Abubakar to Colorado Rapids for the year. We have picked up David Guzman from Portland Timbers, and David Accam has joined the team from Philadelphia Union for the rest of the year. In addition, Waylon Francis and Harrison Afful are just returning from injury, Josh Williams is hurt, and our major playmaker, Federico Higuain is out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL.
If that doesn’t make your head spin, then keep in mind that during this game against Sporting Kansas City, we were also missing Wil Trapp and Gyasi Zardes to the USMNT, and Zack Steffen who was also with the USMNT has played his final game in a Crew jersey as he goes to Europe in July.
With a Kansas City team who has also been struggling with injury and can only put six players on the bench, the Crew had an opportunity to win their second game in the last eleven. Jon Kempin has been the starting keeper since Steffen’s exit, and the back four included Waylon Francis, Alex Crognale, and Gaston Sauro. The midfield wings were Hector Jimenez and David Accam with David Guzman and Artur holding down the center of the midfield with Patrick Mullins on top.
The Crew had several opportunities to put the ball in the goal, but they just couldn’t seem to do so. In the 19’, Patrick Mullins had difficulty finishing off a Pedro Santos corner kick that had been sent in to him by Gaston Suaro. The Crew should have had several goals throughout the game as the SKC keeper Tim Melia blocked but did not hold to several shots the Crew made on goal.
In the 48’, SKC’s Felipe Gutierrez headed in a goal without any one between him and the goal off an assist from Gerso. In the 74’, Afful received a red card for a tackle on Gerso that denied an obvious scoring opportunity.
The game ended in a 1-0 loss for the Crew who can’t seem to put a complete game together.
Thoughts on the match:
This has been an incredibly frustrating period of time for Crew fans as the team cannot seem to pull together a win. We have had injuries and call ups, but I do think the majority of the team that was out on the field on Saturday are capable of pulling out a win. Watching the highlights after being at the match, the Crew had a lot of opportunities, but continue to be unable to find the back of the net.
I am not sure about David Guzman. He has replaced Artur as the starter when Wil Trapp is not on national team duty. It doesn’t seem to work. However, I think part of the reason the team has struggled is due to head coach Caleb Porter’s change in how he has Wil Trapp and his midfield partner (Guzman or Artur) play. I think Wil’s and Artur’s play has also declined with the system tweaks that Porter is making and actually weakening what I consider the spine of the team.
However, I am not ready to write Porter off. While I never hide that he wasn’t my first choice for this job and I don’t consider the injuries an excuse, there are going to be growing pains with a new coach. I’m willing to give him more time, but that doesn’t make the growing pains any less painful as a fan. So I definitely do not fault anyone who is looking for a replacement for Porter already.
Let’s hope the team can find some footing this upcoming Saturday against Orlando City. The team is honoring former Crew coach and legend Sigi Schmid with a place in the team’s Circle of Honor at halftime of the game. An additional way to honor Schmid would be for the Crew to get 3 points.
Featured image: @ColumbusCrewSC
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