Sunday, June 06, 2004


Four in a row!

The Crew cobbled together another less-than-stellar performance today against New England. Yet when the dust settled, our boys in Black-and-Gold brought home three points from the east coast and now sit in second place in the Eastern Conference on 14 points (4-3-2), just two behind Chicago with a game in hand. My thoughts on the match:

* Greg seems to have found a "better" scheme for the five-man midfield in the absence of Simon Elliott through the use of two-way midfielders in the center behind Kyle Martino (Ross Paule and Brian Maissoneuve against San Jose last week; Paule and Manny Lagos today). With the Crew playing with defensive-minded wingers in Eric Denton and Frankie Hejduk, the offense must come through the center of the field, and while today's adventure at Estadio Gillette didn't look a WHOLE lot better than previous matches, the flow of the game is starting to move away from the long-ball over-the-top and speed moves of Surfer Dude to a possession game with reasonable passing across and down the field. It reminds me of how the 2003 Crew play in Championship Manager (3-4-3, with Martino/Maissoneuve in the center of midfield and Denton/Hejduk on the flanks). Now if we can just get a more offensive option at attacking mid than KMart has shown himself to be lately (Lagos, maybe?), we could make the 3 goal/game offense flow at the House that Lamar Built.

* The two penalty kicks conceded by the Crew in the match has to be cause for concern for Andrulis. For a team that gets results ugly, giving away prime scoring opportunities to the opposition via the spot-kick will eventually cost the team points as the season progresses.

* Manny Lagos continues to prove why he is such a valuable player to every team he has played for in the league (and I'm not saying that because he happens to be a fellow UW-Milwaukee alum). He works hard, can run off the ball AND with the ball, and gets himself into positions where his teammates can use him. Of the Crew's trades in the off-season, this was the best one.

About the streak: it doesn't have to end. The next three matches are Kansas City, DC Scum, and the (c)Rapids, so it's possible we could be unbeaten in nine games (ten if you include the US Open Cup match on June 30th) heading into the July 3rd match against the bums from the Windy City. Who could have said that on May 15th when we were 0-3-2 and staring at a fifth-anniversary celebration in a projected half-empty Crew Stadium against the Revolution? Surely not I!

Bring on the Lollipop Guild!

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