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Notes and Grades: Game 1 (at Colorado)

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Finlay was a rare bright spot for a listless Crew performance.
Finlay was a rare bright spot for a listless Crew performance.

The Crew were listless in a road game in Denver. It seems like late October all over again. The Crew have 2 weeks to sort out several issues. A few notes on a game to forget below:

  • Emilio Renteria was too isolated as the target forward. He had no help from a midfield trio playing too deep or wings that were pushed back.
  • Eddie Gaven and Ethan Finlay desperately needed to provide support to the offense. Finlay showed some positive energy, but he was stuck playing deeper to support a bunkered defense. Gaven's injury made him a non factor.
  • If Gaven's injury kept him from playing only at 70%-80%, I wonder why he started. He may have been forced in early with Duka's injury, but he certainly didn't look like he could contribute.
  • The midfield trio saw a lot of the ball, but didn't do much with it. Milovan Mirosevic showed flashes of talent, but only had one shot and a couple of nice passes. Tony Tchani was unsettled with his play and looked rushed on the ball. Kirk Urso appeared to suffer from rookie nerves. His two intercepted back passes showed a lack of adjustment to the speed of MLS play.
  • Much of the passing was in the air and it didn't help releive the pressure on the defense. Quite a few hopeful balls that weren't tracked down.
  • Shaun Francis was consistently poor on defense and a nonfactor on offense. The team is rightly looking for an upgrade.
  • On the other side, Sebastian Miranda has a shaky game. He was slow to close down Quincy Amarikwa on the 2nd goal and his distribution was a lot of punt and pray. It killed much of the rhythm.
  • Chad Marshall was solid as usual, but Danny O'Rourke looked a step slow. Perhaps that's just adjusting to the speed of play, but it bears watching to see if he improves on his touches and instincts.

The Grades:

Gruenebaum (6): 3 Saves, 2 Corners Conseded
Miranda (3): 97 touches, 58% pass completion
Marshall (6): 3 blocks, 4 interceptions, 5 clearances
O'Rourke (5): 3 interceptions, 3 recoveries
Francis (3): 1 tackle, 1 clearance
Gaven (4): 0 successful crosses, 0 shots
Urso (4): 89 touches, 69% pass completion, 9 recoveries
Tchani (4): 98 touches, 67% pass completion, 3 fouls, 4 clearances, 7 recoveries
Mirosevic (5): 90 touches, 70% pass completion, 1 successful through ball
Duka (NR): 12 minutes
Renteria (4): 39 touches, 0 shots
Finlay (5): 2 shots, 0 successful crosses
Vargas (3): 1 yellow card
Heinemann (NR): 5 minutes
Warzycha (4): He lost a sub with Duka's early injury and the poor showing by Vargas certainly didn't help, but Gaven started when he probably shouldn't have. He might have pushed up and tucked in the wingers to help form an attacking triangle to work with.

Crew Man of the Match: Gruenebaum, despite a couple of errors at least kept the Crew in the game until halftime.