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Columbus Crew v. Philadelphia Union: Notes and Grades

After struggling, the Crew break through with an Oduro scorcher.


The Crew struggled to a tie against a very young Union team.

  • The Crew defense desperately struggled with the Union's forward movement. Jack McInerney repeatedly slipped his markers and made smart runs. A better playmaker would likely reward him.
  • The Union didn't face pressure quick enough and it was apparent on the goal. Two Crew players vacillated on whether to press Okugo and he was able to make the pass to spring the attack.
  • The Union scrapped their diamond midfield to allow Keon Daniel and Brian Carroll to double Federico Higuain. It worked as the Crew didn't move the ball quick enough.
  • Robert Warzycha quickly moved to fix the issue by bringing on Jairo Arrieta and moving Eddie Gaven centrally. This restored the Crew's advantage in central midfield.
  • The next switch, swapping Danny O'Rourke for Matias Sanchez marked another tactical evolution. Gaven moved forward as Sanchez became the primary holder. It looked much like a diamond and the Union attacked with abandon.
  • Arrieta's appearance gave the Crew some semblance of hold up play. The Costa Rican is a fighter and he was nipping at the Philadelphia back line consistently. This opened up a little more space for Gaven and Higuain to operate towards the final third.
  • Ben Speas didn't see much of the ball, getting 59 touches all game. The attack stayed more central or down the right.
  • Gaven and Higuain were the top players in terms of touches in the attacking zone. Gaven had 110 and Higuain had a season low 98.

Gruenebaum (6): Good work, made the saves he needed to, but was left hanging by the broken offside trap on the goal.
Williams (5): Ran ragged in the first half and wasn't a big factor on offense.
Marshall (4): Well beaten on the broken offside trap and McInerney's movement. Solid on Casey.
Glauber (4): He is slow on the turn and McInerney took advantage, just like Marshall.
Wahl (4): Union attacked down the left side consistently as Wahl was identified as the weak link.
O'Rourke (5): Covered well for Viana, who had an off day, and Gaven, who was asked to attack more.
Viana (4): Wasn't a factor defensively before being lifted at halftime. Worst game in a Crew uniform after a bright start to his career.
Gaven (6): Was an impact player after moving centrally and helping the Crew hold possession.
Higuain (6): Not his usual stellar game, but still dangerous and set pieces were very sharp.
Speas (5): Not as much impact as the Union tracked his movements well.
Oduro (6): The goal was a moment of brilliance that rewarded a very smart run. Put in great effort, even if the results were lacking.
Arrieta (6): Changed the game with his ferocious holdup play. He battled and gave the midfield space and support.
Sanchez (4): Asked to be the sole holding player and was solid when not pressed. Problems happened when he tried to get too fancy and was stripped and his defense following the play was poor.
Finlay (NR): Limited time to make an impact.
Coaching (5): Quick to change the game to get more out of central midfield. Gaven was far more effective. Lifting O'Rourke for Sanchez and moving to the diamond almost backfired as the Union were able to attack with abandon late.

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.