Game Day 4: Crew v. D.C. United - Notes and Grades

USA TODAY Sports

Several players shined in the Crew's win over D.C. United on Saturday.

A result and fun to watch too. A great combo. Ending D.C.'s home points streak. That makes it perfect.

  • Federico Higuain was again the central figure on offense. He played a little farther back as the Crew looked to hit more on the counter attack as the game went on.
  • Dominic Oduro was able to stretch the defense with his pace. He didn't get behind the United back line that often, but they often dropped well off him in case knocked the ball past. There were several dangerous chances due to the space he was given.
  • Even if the Crew offense isn't working, every dead ball situation is dangerous. Higuain is masterful on free kicks, Tyson Wahl's left footed service froze Hamid midway off his line. Josh Williams only had to nod it home. Between Williams, Chad Marshall, Glauber, or Viana, there are plenty of targets to for Higuain or Wahl to aim at.
  • Ben Speas and Eddie Gaven are the most dangerous winger combination the team have rolled out this year. Speas has slotted into the lineup and is the best left winger the team has had since the days of Robbie Rogers. Never spectacular, Gaven continues to do just about everything well.
  • Gaven and Speas pinched in effectively to give Wahl and Williams plenty of space to overlap. With Robert Warzycha looking for even more width from the outside backs, the wingers have to know when to cut in and give an opening.
  • Danny O'Rourke and Agustin Viana combined to keep DeRosario mostly bottled up. United looked to push play wider to bypass the numbers advantage that the Crew had in the middle of the field.
  • The back line is still coming together. Chad Marshall has been impressive since the start of the season, but Glauber appears to lose focus just a little bit too often. He was pushed off the ball a little to easily by Rafael and never recovered.
  • The entire defense let up on the Kyle Porter goal that was called back. It was an apparent offside, but it took the assistant referee overruling the center ref to get the goal disallowed.

Gruenebaum (6): Caught in between on Rafael's goal, but he later put on a goalkeeping clinic with save after save to keep the three points in hand.
Williams (7): Had several chances beyond his one goal and he bottled Pontius for most of the game.
Marshall (6): Could have gotten called for a penalty in the first half, but handled everything else that D.C. threw at him.
Glauber (5): Terrible on the goal, but cleaned up nearly every other ball that came his way.
Wahl (6): Excellent ball for Williams goal and was solid on the defensive end.
O'Rourke (5): Slow to close down on the goal, but played a simple defensive game to funnel DeRosario out of dangerous spots.
Viana (6): Gritty performance as he was more than willing to get physical. Terrible tackle to give D.C. a late chance, but that appeared to be due to fatigue.
Gaven (6): After starting brightly, he drifted a bit in the first half. His shot in the 64th minute was crafted out of getting an inch of space and launching a perfect shot.
Higuain (7): Found plenty of space against the overmatched Kitchen. Didn't rack up any points, but got off two good chances and made the Crew offense tick.
Speas (7): Energetic foil to Higuain's runs. His goal was well taken, but his movement was great throughout.
Oduro (7): No goals, but D.C. certainly struggled with his speed. They played a deep line that gave the Crew midfield plenty of room to work.
Finlay (NR): Two minutes plus stoppages weren't enough time to make a difference.
Sanchez (NR): The first of two stoppage time subs.
Tchani (NR): Another clock killing stoppage time sub.
Coaching (7): Well balanced game plan with Oduro leading the line as a counter attacking threat opened plenty of room for Higuain, Speas, and Gaven. Team even closed out the game fairly well.

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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