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Columbus vs. Philadelphia (Notes and Grades)

The Crew stay in the playoff hunt with two Arrieta goals (and an overloaded left side).

Sam Fahmi / Massive Report

The Crew again won in dramatic fashion with Milo's late goal.

  • The Crew offense attacked down the left side early and often. Eddie Gaven, Josh Williams, Federico Higuain, and Milovan Mirosevic lead the team in touches. Most of them on the left side of the field.
  • Chris Birchall did try to provide width on the other side of the field, but didn't see much of the ball. When he finally did, he was often tucked in centrally.
  • For all the overloaded left side, the Crew found room to work once the ball was switched. Sebastian Miranda was able to play an early cross that crossed up Okugo and gave Arrieta a clear shot at goal.
  • Coach Warzycha talked about Birchall pairing with Danny O'Rourke to provide a base for Mirosevic to go forward. He would often sneak into seams on the right to provide a wider option instead of Birchall.
  • The Crew's defense is struggling to close out games. The team has been victimized by goals coming out of the midfield. The Philly PK came off of a through ball out of midfield. Last week, Chicago found space in the same area.
  • The central defense is lacking a player that can step up into traffic and deny the entry pass. Chad Marshall stayed home more often than usual and Julius James was also playing deeper. The Crew had few chances to cut out an offensive move before it became something bigger.

Gruenebaum (6): Solid keeping, crossed up by the deflection on the 2nd goal. 31 of 36 of his passes went to midfield, contributing to his 50% completion rate. 50/50 indeed. Did earn one assist.
Miranda (6): Wasn't as involved in the game as normal, but his deep cross opened up the Union defense for the first goal. Defense was generally good, but did get crossed to let the Union have a clear shot at goal.
James (5): Active defending until suffering a shoulder injury that forced him out of the game.
Marshall (5): Crossed up on a deflection to get pulled out of position on the 2nd goal.
Williams (6): Active on offense and defense. Rambling run from the left side set up winning goal.
O'Rourke: (5): Covered quite a bit of territory to help free up Mirosevic to get forward. Sprayed the ball around, but wasn't as effective.
Mirosevic (7): Provided a second playmaking point of attack behind Higuain. Birchall and O'Rourke covered well to allow him room to push forward. Offside goal was well taken.
Gaven (6): Interchanged frequently with Higuain and saw a lot of the ball as the Crew attack focused on the left.
Birchall (6): Tucked in on the right quite a bit to work with O'Rourke, but didn't see much of the ball. His 57 touches was much lower than any other player in midfield or the forward line.
Higuain (7): Showed some deft touch and skill to try and pry open the Union defense. Several passes nearly set up Arrieta.
Arrieta (8): Close a couple times before his goals, but he finished well when he got his clear shots at goal.
Renteria (6): A little more involved on offense than Birchall as he pressed forward along the right. Chose to launch shots rather than kill time late in the game.
Gehrig (5): Filled in adequately for the injured James.
Meram (6): Provided instant energy off the bench as the game was tied. He hustled on both offense and defense.
Coaching (6): An interesting choice with Birchall getting the nod on the right and then focusing most of the offense down the left. Birchall's defensive first mentality did hamper attacks down the right, but most of the action was between Higuain, Mirosevic, and Gaven.

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.