Hola, folks! On this ride along I’ll be introducing a new feature: FREEZE FRAME. This will be employed when our ride alongee has a key decision to make. Kind of like the page in Choose-Your-Own-Adventures when you have to choose.
· 1’ – Reluctantly crouched at the center line, his heart was pumping, and thumping in time. The referee whistles, the ball’s struck back. Adam races forward, on the attack.
With a set play from the kickoff that sees Bedell skim a header directly into a dangerous area, the Crew start off with a bang. While Finlay and Higuain aren’t able to finish their chances, Bedell follows the play after it falls apart and harasses an Impact player into a giveaway situation. We now all know that Coach Gregg wants all players, including forwards, to play with defensive responsibility. 17 seconds into his first MLS start, Adam Bedell is doing what the coach wants.
· 1’ parte dos – Pipo sends a killer ball from the back directly upfield, and Finlay gives it a $10 MM transfer fee dummy, which lets the ball go straight to Bedell. Adam smells what Finlay is cooking, and follows the ball in nearly full momentum. FREEZE FRAME: Our intrepid FW can either push forward and try to beat the defender 1v1 and then take a shot or cut the ball nearly 90 degrees to his left and thread the defenders to deliver Federico Higuain a 1v1 opportunity. Adam opts for door #2, and I can’t really blame him. Unfortunately, his pass isn’t quite far enough forward, which he immediately realizes and flails his arm in disgust. The first minute of play concludes. (?!)
· I realize at this point that I’m not remembering Dwight & Chris’ commentary on the game b/c I actually went to the game. This is awesome – I get to hear the match with all new perspectives. And while I’m totally homer for Crew, I’d put our guys up there with Philly’s (JP & Ale) as my favorite in MLS.
· 2’ – During this minute of play, Adam flicks two headers into the middle of the attack, the 2nd one directly to Pipa who attempts a bicycle kick. Bedell has been criticized for his play in the air; being 6’7", perhaps it’s reasonable for folks to expect him to be dominant in this regard. Please allow me to soap box on this for a minute… If a ball is served so high that only someone 6’3" or above can reach it, Bedell should absolutely be in the mix challenging the situation. However, if the service is at the 5’10" – 6’2" range, extremely tall folks lose their advantage. When Crew wingers begin to serve Adam at the right height (6’5"-6’9"), which they probably have *never* had to do before, he will become much more dangerous as an aerialist.
· 14’ – Staying active up top, Bedell comes off the top line to deliver a pass back to Anor on the left side. A display of being "responsible" here… not simply running around up top and begging for the perfect ball. I like what I’ve seen so far.
· 15’ – Corner kick. Pipa’s delivery is near post and is flicked from Gonzalez into the center of the penalty box. It’s promptly misplayed by the Impact defense, and Barson fails to capitalize on the gift. On the broadcast, Dorn questions why Bedell and Pipo are making the same near-post run… I agree. If either of them make a more trailing, center-of-the-box run, the other’s flick to the middle would have been header-assist material. Wouldacouldashoulda.
· 17’ – Warzycha’s mentioned. Drink Polish vodka.
· 20’ – Adam re-directs a long header directly to Higuain. That’s about 3-4 Bedell to Higuain passes. If I was playing near one of the most talented Crew players in history, I’d probably be looking for him most of the time, too.
· 24’ – Bedell still consistently pressing defenders. I’ve played all over the field, including defense. It is super annoying to have forwards constantly in your face, especially if their legs are gigantor 6’7"-person legs. Good job, Adam.
· 26’ – Bedell to Pipa.
· 27’ – Adam is all the way back in the Crew’s p-box helping defend a corner kick. What a good solider.
· 30’ – Just saw the Canadian flag on a Montreal jersey. The whole flags-on-jerseys thing really chaps my donkey. Makes no sense. When I’m commish, that’s one of my day 1 changes.
· 32’ – I really like the white jerseys, but there’s no need for monochrome white here. Black shorts with gold stripes + white socks would be a cool arrangement, in my opinion.
· 34’ – Bedell still working hard and antagonizing defenders.
· 38’ – Bedell with nifty flick to Pipa (of course), who returns the favor with a return pass down the right side. Doesn’t work out.
· 40’ – Finlay goes on an Aaron Craftesque 50 yard steal + sprint toward the Montreal goal. FREEZE FRAME: Finlay’s unexpected burst comes through the right-central part of the field, directly to goal. Your decision: What run do you make? Stay nearby, looking for a "square" ball (90 degrees to goal) or a drop if Finlay attacks? Or, do you drift wide and look for a cross? Adam chooses to drift a bit wider left and give E-Fin plenty of space. Never a bad choice, as this kind of run already has the element of surprise and has defenders on their heels; Finlay attacking and shooting himself would be entirely appropriate. Instead, he cuts inward toward Adam and their signals get crossed… The ball is passed directly to the keeper.
· 42’ – Bedell works through three defenders over the course of 20 seconds to deliver a ball back to his teammate.
· 43’ – A gorgeous buildup in which Bedell’s one-time pass to (guess who) Higuain leads to a great opporutunity.
· Halftime interview is with Bernie. Prescient.
· 57’ – For some reason my MLS Live playback skips directly to the first goal of Bernardo Anor. The less spectacular of his two, this was a great display of composure.
· 60’ – Seems like Adam is having problems finding open space. This would certainly be something tricky to pick up as a new MLS player. As he understands the offense and his teammates better, maybe this will improve. Knowing how and when to make threatening runs can turn a forward into an absolute terror.
· 60’, parte dos – Man, how much does McInerney look like Eric Wynalda?
· 63’ – Another great run down the left side by Waylon Francis, but his cross to Bedell is too high/far. When those crosses are accurate, watch out.
· 64’ – Steve Clark is a god. Not *the* god, but *a* god.
· 67’ – Bedell is subbed out for Schoenfeld.
Not a bad night for Adam. While his runs might not have been terribly creative, his work rate was extremely high and he always attracted the attention of Montreal's defenders. (EDITOR'S NOTE: He scored against an EPL team 4 days later.)