Columbus Crew Week in Review:
The Columbus Crew journeyed west over the weekend looking for three points to move them into first place in the wide open Eastern Conference. They found neither points nor goals in a 3-0 drubbing at the hands of the San Jose Earthquakes.
The game started like so many have for the Crew this season: a scoreless first half. Though the Black and Gold should take pride in keeping their opponents off the score board for the first forty five minutes, they need to find a way to get the ball past the pipes earlier. The club has yet to record a goal in the first half of any game. The second half was effectively a complete defensive meltdown by the Crew. San Jose bested Crew keeper William Hesmer three times in a furious twelve minutes. Chris Wondolowski scored in the 50th minute. He was followed by former Crewman Steven Lenhart in the 59th minute. Khari Stephenson rounded out the offense with a goal in the 62nd minute. Columbus left California with no points and more questions than answers.
The Crew currently sit in third place in the East with a 3-2-4 record and 13 points. They are currently tied with the Houston Dynamo and New England Revolution who both have 13 points as well. This Columbus team is playing with fire. They have scored eight goals and allowed nine on the season so far. That means their goal differential is minus one. Playoff teams almost never have negative goal differentials. Additionally, Columbus’ 8 goals are tied for second fewest in the league. Only the Philadelphia Union have fewer (six, and strangely enough they have 14 points on the year). Most critics predicted an offensive drop off this season with the losses of Leinhart and Guillermo Barros Schelotto, but a new offensive identity must be found quickly. After 170 Major League Soccer games, a total of 200 goals have been scored in the league as a whole; the average per team is 1.18 goals per game. Compare that to Columbus’ prolific 0.89 goal/game clip. Whether the answer comes from a relentless Eddie Gaven, a reborn Jeff Cunningham, or a resurgent Robbie Rogers is irrelevant. Head coach Robert Warzycha needs to quickly assemble a consistent lineup that offers a chance to score early and often each match. If not this team might be mighty bored by November.
The Crew return to action on Saturday May 21 when they square off against the expansion Portland Timbers for the first time ever. The game kicks off in Oregon at 11:00.
Corey Barnes is a third year at The Ohio State University studying business. He hails from Cleveland, Ohio and has a profound understanding of sports suffering and mediocrity. In addition to this column, he also writes sports things at buckeyenerd.tumblr.com and can be followed on The Twitter @Corey_Barnes.
Columbus Crew game photo from thecrew.com.