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Columbus v. New England (Notes and Grades)

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Higuain's Free Kicks = World Class (Fahmi/Massive Report)
Higuain's Free Kicks = World Class (Fahmi/Massive Report)

It was the Higuain & Arrieta show as the duo pulled the Crew past the Revs.

  • Federico Higuain is willing and able to drift all over the field. He especially likes heading towards the left side. The similarities to Schelotto's game are significant.
  • Higuain has formed an instant partnership with Jairo Arrieta. They link up very well and see play in the same way, but Arrieta is getting a bit more space with Higuain on the field.
  • Eddie Gaven is even more valuable with Higuain on the team. He runs the channels as well as always, but the fouls he draws are even more dangerous with a certified dead ball specialist on the team.
  • Milovan Mirosevic's best position is where Higuain plays, but he adapted well to the spot in midfield next to the defensive midfielder. He has freedom to go forward with Danny O'Rourke as the "water-carrier". He also can do the work defensively, 2 tackles, 5 interceptions, and 9 recoveries.
  • O'Rourke is the team's best defense first midfielder. His style is very physical, but effective. Chris Birchall isn't quite the same type of tackler, is prone to push forward, and is a bit sloppy with his passes. He's key on a team with so many players heading forward.
  • Left back is an area of concern once again. Josh Williams doesn't look comfortable in the position; he's learning on the fly and it shows. Nemanja Vukovic wasn't in the 18 either due to injury or coaches decision, so it's down to Williams to keep putting in his herculean effort to make up for the lack of experience.
  • Andy Gruenebaum's back has been bothering him for a couple of weeks. It's something that will likely pop up down the stretch, even with treatment. It's impressive to see Matt Lampson, come in and perform at a high level. It might not be the last time he gets the call.

Gruenebaum (6): Troubled by a back injury early in the half, but did well dispite the injury. He likely made the right decision to come out on Bengston's breakaway.
Miranda (6): Another positive performance with quite a bit of two way work. Only quibble, was how he was caught high up the field and didn't have cover behind him on the Revolution's 2nd goal.
Mendes (4): Looking very fatigued before his injury and a bit behind the play. Warzycha said in hindsight that he shouldn't have played him.
Marshall (6): Solid to keep the Revs attack mostly quiet. Did get caught pushed up on the Bengston goal, but he was back to his dominant self.
Williams (4): Struggled at left back. He broke the offside trap twice in the first 25 minutes. The Crew paid for it once. His passing was sharp.
O'Rourke: (7): His normal rugged self. He was quite adept as closing down space and disrupting the Revs midfield. Played a simple passing game as well.
Mirosevic (7): Overshadowed by the offensive stars, but Milo was everwhere, calm on the ball, and made good passes. He was also active on the defensive end. Great vision to spring Arrieta with a right footed lob.
Gaven (7): Dangerous play as he drew both fouls to set up Higuain's goals. He fired in a couple crosses and wasn't afraid to shoot.
Duka (6): Still quietly performing and getting back to full fitness. Passing much sharper and he's showing more of his on the ball savvy. Played 90 minutes for the first time this year.
Higuain (9): Two world class goals. He's seemingly changed the spirit of this team. No lead is safe with him pulling the stings.
Arrieta (9): He is the finisher that the Crew has needed. He is also a tireless off the ball worker. He really seems to be the complete package.
James (5): Struggled at times and was a little unfortunate on the PK call, but he did have his arm around Fagundez. Looked
Lampson (7): Fine decisions and saves for his first MLS appearance. He showed no rookie jitters.
Tchani (6): A little inconsistent as he readjusted to the speed of game play, he eventually settled in and played an excellent ball into Arrieta for the assist.
Coaching (6): Injuries hampered effective substitutions, but his decision to start Mendes was suspect. The new formation is working wonders as the offense, Higuain, shines. Left back however is still a concern as Williams is up and down.

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.