The Columbus Crew ventured to Harrison, New Jersey for the fourth game of the Major League Soccer season and snatched a tie from the New York Red Bulls with virtually the last kick of the game. Columbus had ample opportunities to win the game, and some fans may still feel disappointed with the result. Nonetheless, the Crew sits comfortably in second place in the Eastern Conference and remains undefeated so far in 2022.
The international break provided us with a great opportunity to review the Black & Gold portfolio. Let’s dive into the numbers and see if Caleb Porter has diversified his investments.
BUY: Consistent and positive results
The bottom line of any season is that it can always be better. Through one month of play, Columbus has won two home games and tied in two road matches. If a win at home and a draw on the road will make you rich, then why does it feel like the Crew has left four points on the table?
The answer lies deeper in the numbers. Last week, we discussed doubling down on a more creative and explosive attack. Don’t worry, the numbers haven’t moved too much. Hold: Pace of Play. The Black & Gold leads the league in expected goals (xG).
Our expectations are high. Fans now feel comfortable expecting three points every week. That is a good thing. When the Crew can only muster one goal at the very last second of a game on the road, it feels less than satisfying. The question is, what is the overall return? The answer so far is second in the East.
Last season, Columbus’ troubles seemed abstract. The ball didn’t move quickly, the runs seemed a tad late and the attack was one-dimensional. This season, the problems are straightforward: set-piece defending and finishing. These aspects of the game can be fixed.
There are 30 more MLS matches on the schedule. Every single point matters. But if the worst result is a road draw, the Black & Gold’s bottom line come the fall is going to be solidly in the black.
TRADE: Domestic investment for international options
Any robust fan portfolio will have a light sprinkle of international soccer. Be careful not to overindulge. That could lead to drastic volatility that could drive even the sanest fan mad.
This week, Crew supporters will have plenty of options to get their soccer fix, even if the venues might be a little different. Perhaps you are a traditionalist and have invested your time with the United States Men’s National Team. They have played well so far and have one match to go to qualify for the World Cup.
Some fans of the Black & Gold prefer to let their domestic interest guide their international options. This international break has plenty of Crew players suiting up for their home country.
Miloš Degenek received a call down under to Australia and already has one defeat under his belt. The Crew defender has not been shy in saying his motivations for coming to Columbus are intertwined with his hopes to qualify for the World Cup.
Yaw Yeboah is with th ever-familiar Ghana National Team, a squad plenty of Crew fans have grown fond of over the years. He did not play in the 0-0 draw with Nigeria.
Trendsetter, Derrick Etienne Jr. joined the Hati National Team for an international friendly match, in which his country lost. The Crew winger may not have played in a high-stakes match, but fans should expect him to keep up his impressive form this week.
BUY: Crew 2 futures
If the international brand of soccer isn’t your thing there was still Black & Gold soccer to please you this weekend. Columbus’ MLS NEXT Pro team, Crew 2, played its first game last Saturday. While the group lost 2-0 to Inter Miami II, Crew 2 stands to be a great investment for fans looking to supplement their Columbus soccer fandom going forward.
Going forward Crew 2 will play the team’s home games at Historic Crew Stadium. Early price points indicate an affordable buy-in on tickets and the ground floor of Crew 2 development. The front office has built a competitive squad so far with exciting prospects like Aidan Wolf and Mohamed Farsi. Be sure to keep an eye on these upcoming players throughout the year.