Crew v. Montreal: Notes and Grades

USA TODAY Sports

An impressive team performance spurred by some impressive individual performances.

Columbus desperately needed a win after a terrible week and a half. This was convincing.

  • Sanchez's early goal was borne of the desire to have more attacking pressure in central midfield. O'Rourke's work as the water carrier allowed Sanchez that freedom.
  • O'Rourke played exactly within himself. He's not the flashiest player, but he has a solid skill set for a defensive midfielder. Solid tackling, accurate passing to players who can do something with the ball.
  • Sanchez is finally showing his worth. Beyond the well taken goal, he's shown to be an enthusiastic tackler and someone who can play the long ball when required.
  • The Crew's use of inverted wingers opened up the Impact defense. Anor is a left footed player, but playing on the right he was able to cut in and attack the space between the fullback and the center back. Speas did the same on the left side.
  • Higuain didn't travel quite as much. Warzycha tried to keep him central and to an extent he did. He was very good again at directing the attack.
  • The Impact never quite figured out how to deal with Oduro and his speed. Montreal did back off quite a bit and opened up the field.

Gruenebaum (6): Held the shutout in a pivotal time in the first half by blocking Andrew Wenger.
Barson (6): Another positive outing for the Crew's home grown defender. He didn't look overmatched.
Williams (6): Slid centrally after missing time and looked like he's where he belongs.
Marshall (6): Only one misstep to lead to a Wenger chance.
Wahl (5): Solid on both sides of the ball.
Sanchez (8): Outstanding run to follow up on Oduro's run. His defense was aggressive and blanketing. A dream night for a volante.
O'Rourke (7): Was in the right position to break up plays. Completed 90% of his passes, all short and to people who can do more with the ball.
Speas (5): Responded by having a better game than in Philly, but didn't look quite back to his instinctive best.
Higuain (7): 7 key passes. Instrumental in keeping the offensive pressure up.
Anor (7): Tenacious without the ball and smart with the ball.
Oduro (8): Masterful in causing terror on the back line. He scored a great goal off of defensive pressure and picked up an assist while being fouled.
George (5): Low key performance in replacement of the nearly unparalleled Sanchez.
Finlay (NR): Time killing sub.
Warzycha (NR): Time killing sub.
Coaching (7): He was able to create some attacking pressure by having Sanchez go forward. Having Anor and Speas act as inverted wingers caused Montreal issues.

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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