Monday, September 27, 2004


Big Cat's revenge

In his first match against the club which brought him to MLS and a place on the US National Team, Tony Sanneh said "thank you" by burying a header off a Simon Elliot free kick past Nick Rimando on the ten minute mark. That goal would stand up as the Crew defeated Adunited 1-0 and stayed four points ahead of the Metrostars with just three weeks remaining in the regular season. The win also secured home-field advantage for the first round of the playoffs and kept the Crew one point behind Kansas City in the fight for the Supporters' Shield. The recap, based upon my observations from the upper deck of Estadio Crew (thanks again for the tickets, Chelsey):

* The scoreline was proper. This match was definitely a one-goal win for the Crew. For all the opportunities that existed for Columbus to make it 2-0 or 3-0, there was about as many for DC to level the match and deny us two points. DC gets credit for being both aggressive and resilient after losing Jaime Moreno to injury in the 25th minute and Ryan Nelsen to a second yellow at the end of the first half, but Columbus did not press enough coming out of the locker room to get a second goal and salt away the match before Big Greg was forced to fiddle with the mix due to Frankie Hejduk's mishap of the schnozz.

* Selfishness, thy name is Jeffro. Last week against the Metro, Jeff Cunningham was the epitome of a key player, making creative runs and then putting the ball into scoring position for Edson Buddle. On Saturday, the real Jeffro returned to Crew Stadium. In his half-hour on the pitch, I counted four or five clear opportunites that he just blew by trying to be the hero instead of being "one of the guys". From shooting from terrible angles instead of putting the ball into the mix to trying to take on Rimando when a square pass would have brought the insurance marker, Cunningham's tendency to need attention and prove his usefulness bore its ugly head in a game that could have easily been drawn.

* Substitutions were less-than-stellar. Jeffro found the pitch around the hour mark for Hejduk, which brought the KMart-Jeff-Buddle threesome together again, a combination that has not worked much at all this season. The final two subs were made very late in the match, with Akwari spelling Oughton and Testo replacing Martino. The final 30 minutes or so were played at break-neck speed, with both teams alternating chances, some dangerous and some not so.

In the end, we Crewfans were treated to a win over the only team in our division we had not beaten (0-1-2 against DC heading into the match) and another step closer to home field for the Eastern Conference final and the Shield with a game in hand on our nearest challengers for both (Metro and KC).
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