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DC United 1-0 Columbus Crew

 Posted by on August 5, 2012 at 4:50 am  Columbus Crew, MLS
Aug 052012

Saturday, August 4, 2012
By: David Burgin

Good things come in small packages, and sometimes in packages both tiny and hard to discern. The positive start to tonight’s match in RFK Stadium was one of those things. Eleven Crew players appeared to play as one throughout much of the first forty five minutes in the sweltering heat of our nation’s capital. 

Spacing between defenders and midfielders, as well as midfielders and advanced players allowed the Black and Gold to find frequent periods of possession. Along with the, up to this point in the season, hard to come by cohesive movement and team possession of the ball, The Crew found their way into the DC penalty area a handful of times. A few of those times were not the usual down the wing and swing the ball into the box kind of attacks. No, a few of those times consisted of smart, crisp play which found Columbus in tight control of the ball’s ultimate destination. In other words: The Crew appeared, as a unit, to want to work together to find the gaps in DC’s back line.

The fact that the last touch finishing off The Crew’s most coherent and professional forays into United’s penalty area was wanting tonight is disappointing. But, when taken as a whole, the small package that was the first half contained numerous sustained impressions of the above mentioned cohesiveness and possession.

Jairo Arrieta did a nice job of showing into dangerous spaces, which also happened to be spaces his teammates could effectively play the ball into. Arrieta created great trouble for United’s back four when finding these spaces on the move.

Eddie Gaven did his usual consistent job of working to win possession and keep it for his team. No matter where Eddie plays, his pluses greatly outweigh his minuses.

Justin Meram had a much better game as a wing midfielder tonight. Robert Warzycha seems determined to use Meram in this position. Warzycha’s persistence in playing Meram as an end line to end line wing mid is clearly making Meram a better all around player. Meram has yet to stamp his signature on the position, the way he did earlier in the season at the wing attacking position, but the Michigan University products improvement is a positive.

Dilly Duka also continues to show promise. Tonight, his role running end line to end line on the left found him in dangerous positions, with the ball at his foot, more than a few times. Duka’s effectiveness on the ball suffers somewhat with all the running and defending he is doing, but, like Meram, Dilly is diligently trying to fit into the role Warzycha sees him taking.

The players mentioned above, and the rest of Columbus’ starting eleven have begun to figure each other out. If Frederico Higuain comes in and assumes a creative role, a role where he draws defenders to him and then plays the dangerous pass, he will fit snugly into the center of pitch and behind Arrieta. If his inclusion forces teams to pinch in to stop him, Duka and Meram will be able to play more advanced roles with less defensive responsibilities, which in turn will allow them to do what they do best, beat players one versus one in and around the opposing teams penalty area. 

DC United got the points tonight. They are a tough team to beat at home. The Crew, as a team, should be angry they didn’t finish better. But, the Black and Gold have a half of soccer, a coherent and professional half of soccer to take into the stretch run of Major League Soccer’s 2012 season. The boys from Hudson Street are becoming a dangerous bunch. Here’s to more of the same and a little Higuain to boot.

The Crew still have it all to do…


David Burgin

David Burgin is the author of three books published to Kindle: If You Dreamed of a Street, The Animal Caretaker, and Vanished Mountain.

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