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Chicago vs. Columbus (Notes and Grades)

Columbus was just a little flat on Saturday and it showed.

John Gress - Getty Images

More offensive struggles against the hottest team in the league leave the Crew on the outside of the playoffs, looking in with 4 to play.

  • Federico Higuain found a lot of the ball, but really wasn't in a position to make an impact. The Fire were able to sit back and pack the box. There was no real width from the Crew to threaten them.
  • Milovan Mirosevic sent a couple of diagonal balls to try and extend the defense, he played quite a solid game as the timekeeper for the offense.
  • Danny O'Rourke struggled to track Chris Rolfe. The Dayton native found plenty of space in the first half while O'Rourke chased him.
  • The Crew's subs didn't add anything to the game. Meram and Tchani didn't add any extra energy. Vargas was misused.
  • Without Arrieta's heady play, the Crew offense struggled on the run of play. There was several good chances off of corners, but the organized Fire defense didn't allow the Crew to create during transition.
  • Gaven wasn't threatening on the left as it was clear he was still carrying an injury. It was re-aggravated, slowing him further.

Gruenebaum (6): Solid play, but unable to do too much on either goal as the first goal was a one on one and the second was a very good shot.
Miranda (6): Didn't have a lot of screening infront of him, but again was his quiet dependable self.
James (4): Not a terrible game, but did freeze inbetween covering the ball or trying to track Rolfe on the first Fire goal.
Marshall (6): A supremly consistent game. He could have closed down Rolfe a bit quicker on his 2nd goal.
Williams (6): Not a bunch of defensive work and had a couple dangerous chances including a shot right at Sean Johnson.
O'Rourke: (4): Struggled to track Rolfe who found a lot of space between midfield and the forward line. Seemed a step slow.
Mirosevic (6): Helped to control the tempo with quite a few touches. Tried to switch play to the wings as well.
Gaven (5): Struggled as he suffered a reoccurance of his leg injury.
Renteria (6): Created quite a few chances on the right side with his physical presence.
Higuain (6): Desperatly tried to kick start the offense by picking up the ball all over the field, but unable to recreate any of his August magic.
Arrieta (7): Savvy play to press Johnson on his pass. He really created a goal out of nothing.
Renteria (6): He turned into an offensive force once he settled down. Several good crosses and dribbles right before he was lifted.
Tchani (4): Tucked in far too much on the right side to be effective. Unbalanced the team.
Meram (5): Lost in the overloaded left side. Didn't create much offense.
Vargas (5): A target man without service. Often had to drift deep or wide to receive the ball, negating his strengths.
Coaching (3): Odd substitutions created a vacancy on the right side. He lifted both Renteria and Miranda without adiquately replacing them. Chose to bring in a target and then the team starved him for service. Confounding.

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.