Columbus Crew v. Vancouver Whitecaps: Notes and Grades

USA TODAY Sports

The Crew return home with a split on the road.

The Crew looked solid then struggled and finally fell short in Vancouver.

  • It's the definition of a mixed result. The offense looked agressive and confident even down a goal on the road, however they collapsed under pressure late in the half and probably should have given up at least a goal.
  • Warzycha claims he wants Gruenebaum to play short. The second goal was evidence of that. The quick pass left Glauber in a tough spot, but that's the danger of playing the quick passing game; sometimes you turn it over.
  • The defense will have issues with balls played quickly on the ground. The rock hard Vancouver turf is probably the worst surface for a team with centerbacks like the Crew's to play.
  • Ben Speas made people forget about Eddie Gaven's absence just a little bit. It was a good game from the second year man. He may push for more time, but it will be at Dominic Oduro's expense.
  • The team is still apparently trying to find the right mix of players in central midfield. Matias Sanchez saw his first action and he was as advertised, a deep lying timekeeper rather than a standard defensive midfielder. He won't be able to play as a sole holder, but will need a "water carrier" like O'Rourke that will do the dirty work. It's not clear how he will fit into the lineup quite yet since he would have to displace Agustin Viana.
  • Viana and Danny O'Rourke certainly have their roles well defined. O'Rourke specialized in the 10 to 15 yard square pass. Viana was tasked to move play forward.

Gruenebaum (5): Well off his line on the first goal, a shot that required excellent execution. His pass to Glauber put him into trouble, but that's the danger of playing quickly out of the back
Williams (6): Tried to overlap but was often caught in odd spots trying to work with Oduro.
Marshall (7): Another vintage performance from a player who looks so much better now that he's healthy.
Glauber (5): Often makes good decisions, but he's slow at the turn and with the ball at his feet.
Wahl (6): Pushed up dangerously and worked well into the space that Speas vacated.
O'Rourke (6): Classic water carrying performance as he completed 39 of 42 his passes. Most were of the short posession recycling variety.
Viana (5): Mixed performance as he wasn't the big influence he was last week.
Oduro (4): Stuck too often at midfield and wasn't very successful with his attacks coming inside. Crosses were a nonfactor.
Higuain (7): On the ball a team high 134 times. Completed 57 passes out of 76. The offense revolved around him and He did as much as he could to make something happen.
Speas (7): Bright play in Speas second start of his career. He cut and found space well. He served some excellent crosses and did well to hold the ball for the right time to free Arrieta for the Crew goal.
Arrieta (6): I underrated his movement last week. He scored a goal to highlight it this week.
Sanchez (5): Not an outstanding debut, but not catestrophic. He was a calming presence on the ball and looked to make the best pass. He also made solid runs from deep.
Tchani (4): Hurried too often with the ball and tried to force it into bad spots. Vancouver got the ball far too easily when it went through Tchani.
Finley (NR): Limited time to make a difference.
Coaching (4): Odd choices on the substitutions with two like for like swaps in the midfield and waiting to put in Finley. Oduro looked like a candidate to be lifted.

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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