Saturday, April 2, 2011

Big Win! Columbus Crew 2, FC Dallas 0-April 1st, 2011

Last night's game was big for the Columbus Crew. After last week's disappointing draw with a weakened New York Red Bull side, the Crew came back in a big way with a 2-0 victory against FC Dallas.

Eddie Gaven Down the Sideline (Josh Couper,
The Crew dominated possession in the first half against a very strong FC Dallas side. Eddie Gaven, my man of the match (I had made that decision even before his goal in 2nd half stoppage time) played with an intensity we have come to expect from him, with outstanding runs down the right-hand side. In my stupidity I dropped Eddie Gaven from my FC Manager fantasy team Going to have to correct that.

Also, for the third game in a row, Robbie Rogers played very well as Eddie Gaven's complement on the left side, earning an assist on Gaven's goal.

This was the second clean sheet in a row for the Crew. William Hesmer had to make several saves and the back line of Rich Balchan, Chad Marshall, Julius James and Sebastian Miranda held off a strong offensive push by the FC Dallas front line, although much of that push in the 2nd half was due to give-aways by the Crew's defense (see below). Even though the Crew had a one man advantage for almost 57 minutes after Jackson Goncalves of FC Dallas was ejected for a second caution, the 2nd half was a 50/50 affair, with the outcome never until Gaven scored the Crew's 2nd goal in stoppage time.

I like the line-up the Crew started with last night. It was the same as the match against the Red Bull last Saturday, essentially a 4-2-2-1-1. The same personnel started, with the only change being Miranda and Balchan switching sides. The Crew created plenty of chances, although they still struggle getting off quality shots in the penalty box. But first order of priority is to stop the other team from scoring, and the Crew are accomplished that.

A few other thoughts:

- The defense, especially James and Balchan, gave the ball away much too often in the second half. This allowed FC Dallas to continue to aggressively counter-attack.

- The return of Emilio Renteria was huge for the Crew. His energy and drive provided a real spark in the second half.

- FC Dallas started Ruben Luna, one of their home-grown signees and a graduate of their US Soccer Development Academy program team. Last time I saw Ruben Luna was against my son Michael's Development Academy team last Fall. Kind of cool.

Big win for the Crew!

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