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.
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.