The Columbus Crew have had a very up and down season, but thus far they seem to be a bit of an enigma. Most teams with ups and downs are just that, up and down, and therefore do not have one aspect to pinpoint in failure. It is, generally speaking, just how well, or not well, they perform said aspects on any given day.
The Crew, however, are not one of these teams. Despite its attacking pedigree, the Crew just can’t score.
I’ve been through this already, but the Crew attack is simply not as potent as last year and it is almost solely the reason for their rocky start.
As of today they are tied for the worst scoring record in the eastern conference with just seven goals, averaging less than one a match. In Seattle this weekend the Crew’s ineptitude was on full display. In the first half especially, Columbus got into all the right places, but as has been the case so often this season they couldn’t put away the finish.
Kei Kamara had a goal ruled offside, but the attack just didn’t look in sync. It was as if somehow just outside the 18 yard box someone flipped a switch to an eight year-old playing FIFA. On several occasions Kamara was visibly frustrated from his lack of service or the quality thereof.
Ethan Finlay was again putting on a showcase of how not to score as well. Whenever the Columbus winger got in a good position he missed a pass or sent a shot wide, embodying precisely what has been wrong with the Crew in 2016. I hate to pinpoint a team’s struggles on one player, especially one that seems as nice as Finlay, but he has been particularly pathetic this season and it can no longer be ignored.
Despite all of this I don’t think we can count out Crew SC. Even if Kamara says there was “Nothing positive to take out of that game yesterday. Nothing!”
Don’t worry Kei, as impotent as the Columbus attack has been, the defense has been almost as stingy. With only 10 goals conceded they have allowed the 3rd (tied) least goals in the entirety of MLS. This too has been done largely without the services of first choice center back Gaston Sauro, with Tyson Wahl filling in the gap competently to say the least.
Further, in a less palpable sense, this shouldn’t be the hardest thing to fix. The team has shown that they can score in the past and have been putting themselves in the right places this year. It might just take some time and/or a couple of mix ups in the starting XI to get things into gear.
If there is anyone capable of turning this team around, it is Gregg Berhalter. He has brought his brand of attacking and aesthetically pleasing soccer to Columbus since his hire two and a half years ago. I for one am staying optimistic.