Crew Already Exceeding Expectations

Takeaways from the Crew's season-opening win
by Al DiFranco   |   Tuesday, March 11, 2014

John Hefti Photography - Columbus Crew, Labor Strike, MLS, SoccerNewsday

An offseason of significant change was supposed to lead to a slow start for the Columbus Crew this season. After Saturday’s 3-0 thrashing of D.C. United, it might be time to reevaluate this season’s expectations.

Here are 3 takes on Saturday’s Crew victory:

Parkhurst and company impress

The biggest question mark for the Crew was on the backline, with new starters at both centerback positions (Michael Parkhurst and Giancarlo Gonzalez) and leftback (Waylon Francis). The group’s first match together was nothing short of dominating, allowing only 1 shot on goal.

The defenders also played an integral role in attack, with Gonzalez finding rightback Josh Williams out wide, who then fed Jairo Arrieta with a beautiful cross for the Crew’s first goal. Parkhurst drew a penalty in the box that Federico Higuain capitalized on for the second goal.

Midfield depth on full display

Last year’s top goalscorer, Dominic Oduro, was absent from the lineup due to receiving a red card in last season’s final match, so the midfield was shorthanded. You never would have known that watching Saturday night’s match, as Hector Jimenez played a stellar 90 minutes.

The Crew will have plenty of advanced midfield options with Oduro, Jimenez, Higuain, and Bernardo Anor all capable of strong wing play – though Higuain seems much better in the central attacking midfield position he played on Saturday.

An entertaining brand of soccer

After watching Saturday night’s match, it’s hard to fathom that Berhalter was fired from his last head coaching position because his squad struggled to score. That was the main criticism from detractors of Berhalter’s hire in Columbus, as the Crew had the same problem last season.

Saturday night saw a Crew attack that, despite missing Oduro, was all over D.C. United’s half of the field. 57% possession and 5 shots on goal tell only part of the story. Higuain created havoc in the middle of the field, and the outside backs combined with the wings to add width to the attack.

All in all, this was a great performance. Crew fans hope this is just the beginning of something big and fun.

NEXT UP: March 22 - Columbus Crew vs Philadelphia Union, Columbus Crew Stadium, Columbus, Ohio. 6 p.m. EST, MLS Live.


Ohio State
Club Domestic:
Columbus Crew
Club Foreign:
AC Milan, Everton
Passionate fan of the USMNT, Al is a member of the Cleveland Chapter of the American Outlaws. He also loves to follow and discuss Premier League and Serie A. Named his daughter Mia after a certain soccer legend.