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New England vs. Columbus (Notes and Grades)

Gruenebaum acrobatics were required to get the road point.
Gruenebaum acrobatics were required to get the road point.

It wasn't pretty as both teams were coming off significant layoffs. Play was a little sloppy and it settled into a loose affair in the middle third with the defenses getting the job done inside the 18.

  • Defense first as always. Josh Williams, Carlos Mendes, and Eric Gehrig put in another good effort in the heart of the defense, but Andy Gruenebaum's acrobatics were again the star of the show.
  • It's clear that Warzycha focuses on defensive shape and is a build from the back type of manager. He is quite like current England Manager Roy Hodgson. It can work, but it may not always be enjoyable to watch.
  • The Crew are essentially playing with a midfield trio with Gaven often linking up with Mirosevic and George. With Tchani and Meram tucking in from wide, Columbus played fairly narrow and really crowded the center of midfield.
  • Width is normally provided by the outside backs, but Nemanja Vukovic and Sebastian Miranda didn't press forward often. Bernardo Anor provided some width, but he often was stranded or didn't pick up his head to pick out a pass.
  • Emilio Renteria is a poor choice as the target forward. He doesn't really have the skillset to sit underneath as a withdrawn forward. He really is best paired with another forward in a 4-4-2.
  • Goals were likely hard to come by with the way the offense was lined up. Tony Tchani is much better in defensive positions and isn't an attacking threat. Justin Meram had some chances, but a lot off the offense fell to Gaven, Renteria, and to a lesser extent Mirosevic.

Gruenebaum (8): Outstanding once again. He's been tremendous since becoming the starter.
Miranda (6): Defensively solid as usual. The definition of consistent.
Mendes (5): Played no frills defense, but hampered with an injury and it limited him.
Williams (6): Active in cutting out Revolution attacks, often moving forward to cut out forward balls by New England.
Vukovic (6): Tidy on defense and with the ball. He didn't get forward quite as much as usual.
Tchani (5): Saw a lot of the ball, but didn't really do much with it. He is still more of an asset on defense than he is pushing forward.
George (6): Plays very calmly and usually makes the right pass. He tended to stay home on defense and let Milo do most of the heavy lifting.
Mirosevic (6): Very active in helping to clog the middle and stifle a narrow Revs team. Saw quite a bit of the ball and attempted to get it forward with mixed success.
Meram (5): Showed flashes on the left, but ultimately his decision making let him down too often. Non-entity on defense.
Gaven (5): No shots from the nominal 2nd forward. Worked hard on defense, but found precious little space to run the channels and find open space.
Renteria (3): Poor touch and decision making. He was not dangerous as a target man and didn't find the channels.
Gehrig (6): Very active and played a very good game, often sweeping behind the very active Williams. Excellent tackle in the 87th minute to stop a dangerous Revs chance.
Anor (4): Pressed when he got into the game, he looked to take on too much of the offensive load and ended up losing possession more often than not.
Finlay (NR): Subbed in as the speed option late, but didn't really have time to make an impact.
Coaching (5): The same game plan from Warzycha, focus on defensive shape and build the offense off of that. It won't win style points, but it earns a road point.

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.