Houston v. Columbus (Notes & Grades)

Arrieta put in a 90 minute shift last night.

Nearly a dream debut for Federico Higuain, but the Crew only grab a road point where a win would have done wonders for their playoff chances.

  • The Crew did well not to give up too many set piece chances. Brad Davis is dangerous with his left foot, whether with a lashed shot or off a corner.
  • Columbus tried early defensive pressure, but backed off, perhaps to conserve energy, a bit by the 15th minute and Houston started getting more time on the ball. The Dynamo goal came after an extended run of possession.
  • The Crew struggled a bit without Milovan Mirosevic early on. Justin Meram struggled during the half. He seemed to press. Eddie Gaven eventually found more of the ball and settled things down.
  • Higuain had 65 touches in 45 minutes. That would have lead the team over 90 minutes. Columbus looked much better with him in the middle. That is an instant impact.
  • I have to imagine Jairo Arrieta, Higuain, Gaven, and Mirosevic will quickly form an understanding. The Crew still have questions on the left as Dilly Duka needs to develop some consistency.
  • Higuain seems taylor made for the Crew's 4-2-3-1 offensive formation. He will be given free role to find the ball and make something happen.

Gruenebaum (4): Keeper gaffes are the most noticeable on the field. He was wearing the green jersey and muffed an easy shot. It happens; expect better on Wednesday.
Miranda (6): Another return to form performance after a slight midseason stutter. Only flaw on a good defensive game was the needless foul along the touchline to give the Dynamo a free kick.
Mendes (5): Quiet performance as he was tasked with staying at home. Didn't get to many balls or not as active with clearances.
Marshall (5): Another uneven performance where he looked dominant, but again had trouble with a clearance that lead to Moffat's attempt at goal.
Williams (5): Unspectacular performance on the left and didn't push up as effectively as normal as Boniek Garcia was a handful.
Birchall: (5): Solid work rate, but didn't see as much of the ball and his passing left a bit to be desired.
Grossman (7): Impressive performance to make the right pass and get into the right positions.
Meram (4): Struggled with connecting passes and seemed to struggle with the pace of the game.
Gaven (7): Tireless to get into the channels; paid off on his goal. His work rate was top notch. His pass to spring Duka really unlocked Houston to set up the first goal.
Duka (6): Showed patience to wait for Grossman and not force the ball. Generally sharp passing, however did waste a couple early crosses. Solid on defense.
Arrieta (6): Outstanding worker with a lot of technical proficiency. Thriving as the solo striker with the attacking midfield support behind him.
Higuain (7): Higuain's movement was excellent. He seemed to be in the right spot to receive a pass or make the final one. His vision was quite good as well. Special pass to free Gaven.
Finlay (5): Did better to find the game when he came on as a sub. Could have made a better chance late in the game as his cross was intercepted.
O'Rourke (5): Mostly solid performance to solidify a weakening midfield. His failure to clear helped the Dynamo to the late tying goal.
Coaching (6): Settling on a solid rotation, but gave Meram a shot. Gave him a quick hook as he was the poorest player in the 1st half. Trusting Higuain for 45 minutes was a bit of a gamble, but payed off well. Finlay over Renteria was an interesting choice, but showed he valued possession over force.

Note on Grades: 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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