Score us a goal tonight!
‘Cus we’re all in the mood for a victory
And you’ve got us feeling alright!
One blog post cannot speak to everything that happened in last night’s 2-1 victory in Philadelphia, so for now we’ll stick with the result.
After missing a sitter earlier in the second half, Eddie Gaven made sure not to fluff his (and the Crew’s) final chance of the evening just moments before the final whistle blew. Justin Meram fired a low, hard shot that took a kind deflection and fell right at The Bearded One’s feet and he made sure Columbus left town with three points in hand. Perhaps the deflection was well deserved after Columbus surrendered their goal off of an unkind deflection on a free kick in the first half. Sandwiched in between those two goals, Josh Williams got his head on a Federico Higuain free kick and directed it just inside the post to level the score at 1-1.
Unfortunately for Williams, he would not get the chance to celebrate Gaven’s goal on the field. In the second half Williams received a red card for shoving Philadelphia’s Antoine Hoppenot during a dead ball situation behind the play. He really has no one to blame but himself and he admitted as much afterwards. Williams has a fiery streak to him and in a pivotal moment in a crucial match he let his emotions get the best of him. Fortunately, Gaven was there to save the day at the end.
But the man of the match (as voted by Crew fans watching last night) had to be rookie goalkeeper Matt Lampson. The Ohio State/Crew Academy product stepped in for injured starter Andy Gruenebaum (who has been stepping in for the real No.1, William Hesmer) and came up with some MASSIVE saves after Williams was tossed and the Crew went down to 10 men. It seems goalkeeper is one position the Crew need not worry about.
So what else did we learn from last night’s thrilling victory?
-There’s something very unlikable about Josh Williams. He was busted for using performance enhancing drugs last season and his hair/general attitude just make him a very rough character.
-Matt Lampson would not be needed so much if the Crew could figure out what to do about Chad Marshall’s center back partner. Carlos Mendes is gone for another 4-6 weeks and I no longer trust Julius James or Danny O’Rourke. Now may not be the best time to tinker with the lineup, but I’d like to see Eric Gehrig get another shot.
-I’m still not convinced Chris Birchall is the No.1 guy for that CDM spot, even when paired with Milo Mirosevic.
-Columbus proved they can win even without goals from Higuain and Jairo Arrieta.
-For all his unlikeable-ness, Josh Williams works his tail off and he earned that goal.
-Justin Meram showed more flashes of brilliance, especially with his effort that led to Gaven’s winner. It took a big stop from the keeper to keep that ball out.
Last night was a classic Columbus Crew performance. Even when the odds are stacked against them, this team will NEVER quit. There can be no doubt that there are forces beyond our control working behind the scenes right now as the MASSIVE club are coming together at exactly the right time and getting results they so desperately need to make the playoffs. With last night’s win the Crew have 39 points which puts them a mere three behind Houston for third place in the East. That’s right: THIRD PLACE is only three points away! Not only that, but Columbus also still haven’t caught up to the rest of the league in terms of games played.
Saturday means a trip back to Columbus to take on Montreal, who also have 39 points but have played three more games as well. This is another must win for Columbus. Tired legs will start to kick in this weekend, but there’s a light coming at the end of the tunnel. After hosting Montreal Saturday, the Crew have one more quick turnaround as they make a trip to New England next Wednesday night. A win against Montreal will allow for a draw against New England.
After that the lads can take a nice, long 10 day break before a MASSIVE trip to Red Bull Arena.
Then things will really get interesting.