Houston vs. Columbus - Notes and Grades

Gaven's two goals were a welcome sight (Fahmi / Massive Report)

The Crew lineup and formation was unusual, but they were changes that made quite a bit of sense once the personnel was available to implement it.

  • Danny O'Rourke made a tremendous impact in defensive midfield. It was a vintage Danny game. He was all over the midfield, providing support for the offense.
  • Eddie Gaven played his type of game. He was able to get a little more central on the left and found the channels and space between the midfield and defense well. He also made the most of his attempts.
  • Mirosevic wasn't as big of a factor as expected. The formation shift was supposed to free him up, but he didn't make as much of an impact that 94 touches and 2 shots would suggest.
  • Tony Tchani was the unexpected right midfielder, but he did play 6 games there in 2010 for New York. He acquitted himself well, linking up passes and being dangerous. He needs to control his reckless behavior. His yellow was unnecessary.
  • Warzycha probably expects more from his forwards. They weren't especially imposing. Renteria saw a lot of the ball, but tended to turn it over. Vargas saw less of the ball, but played smarter passes. Both need to threaten more consistently.
  • The shift to have Williams and Marshall match up with the big duo of Bruin and Ching was a good idea. Houston didn't have many chances, but Bruin made two plays happen against Williams, enough to tie the game.
  • Nemanja Vukovic may soon unseat Shaun Francis as the left back of choice soon. He's very confident on the ball and if he develops any consistency with his crosses, he will be a big threat.
  • The tactical switch from a flat 4-4-2 to a 4-1-3-2 was a good one, but only possible with a defensive midfielder that can handle that responsibility. A healthy O'Rourke is key to making it work.
  • Gruenebaum (5): Wasn't much he could do on the goals.

    Miranda (6): Better performance than recent efforts. Tchani provided excellent support. Probably should have tried to stick closer to Ching on his goal.

    Marshall (6): Ching was quiet for the most part. Did get caught in the middle on Ching's goal though.

    Williams (6): Solid performance in his first MLS start. He matched well physically with Bruin. He perhaps could have done better on Bruin's assist.

    Vukovic (6): Fearless in taking on opponents and fired in several crosses. Needs to be more accurate to be a consistent force.

    O'Rourke (7): His passing wasn't sharp (62%), but he was the defensive glue that allowed the rest of the midfield to do it's job.

    Gaven: (7): He was able to play his game running the channels and finding space. He's at his best when he can run at a defense. Two goals are great evidence.

    Mirosevic (6): He had a quiet influence as he had 94 touches, but didn't make as big of an impact to support the forwards.

    Tchani (6): It was a little odd to see him on the right, but he was solid on the right. He also was tidy with his passes (87%).

    Renteria (6): Very active and saw a lot of the ball. Sloppy with his touches, but did create the chance that allowed Gaven to score his first goal.

    Vargas (5): Less active than Renteria, but tidy in possession. His passing was sharp as usual.

    Schoenfeld (6): Nice work as a sub, including his beautiful chested assist on Gaven's thunderbolt.

    Finlay (5): Took a little while to find the game and never settled in.

    Francis (NR): Not much time to make an impact.

    Warzycha (6): His choice to start O'Rourke was the key to giving the rest of the midfield the freedom to attack. I'm sure he's hoping for a healthy Danny just like everyone else in Crew land.

    Note on Grades: Scale is out of 10. I have set 5 as an average performance. The player had both good and bad events on the field. Under 5 is a disappointing performance. Above 5 is a notable performance.

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