Crew Tailspin Continues

New ownership not enough to avoid 3rd straight loss in 3-1 loss to Houston
by Al DiFranco   |   Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Labor Strike – column on Columbus Crew & the Columbus, Ohio soccer scene.

After an eventful week that saw the transfer of franchise ownership into the hands of Anthony Precourt and Precourt Sports Ventures, Columbus Crew fans were excited. They held out hope that this could motivate the struggling Black and Gold to finish the season strong and possibly sneak back into the playoff race.

Instead, the Crew came out flat in the 1st half on Saturday, creating very few chances. Turnovers led to 2 Houston Dynamo goals, and a scoring-challenged team like the Crew is unlikely to be able to come back from that kind of deficit.

Rookie forward Ryan Finley came on as a sub in the 2nd half, scoring in the 75th minute to cut Houston’s lead in half. It was Finley’s 2nd goal in the past 4 matches.

The Dynamo put the match away in the 85th minute on a beautiful strike from Cam Weaver.

Where are the goals?

The Crew continued their struggles putting the ball into the net. This past weekend’s loss was the 6th straight match where the Crew failed to score more than 1 goal.

Eddie Gaven’s absence in the lineup during that time frame has made for fewer scoring chances being created from the wings, and Federico Higuain has not scored outside of penalty kicks since May.

Maybe it is time for some lineup changes. How about moving Finley into the starting lineup to replace Jairo Arrieta up top?

Playoffs?

The Crew’s slim playoff hopes took a big hit in this loss, as Houston is one of the teams it is chasing. The Crew now sits in 8th place in the Eastern Conference, 10 points behind the 5th-place Dynamo for the final playoff spot. With New England and Chicago, the 6th- and 7th-place teams in the East, respectively, both playing well, it is difficult to see a scenario where the Crew are able to move up in the standings anytime soon.

New owner. Now What?

Shortly after Anthony Precourt was announced as new Chairman of the Columbus Crew, I asked my Twitter followers what they would like to see him do to change the fortunes of the Black and Gold. Here are the 3 most mentioned ideas:

- Fire manager Robert Warzycha

Warzycha has been at the helm of the Crew since 2009, with mixed results. After starting off well (winning the East in 2009, second in 2010), he failed to get the Crew past the wild card round in 2011, and then could not lead the Crew to the playoffs in 2012. This season is certainly looking like another campaign without a postseason berth. When your most fervent fans are making a mockery of you during prematch introductions, as the Nordecke does when it throws pink slips in the air at the announcement of Warzycha’s name, you know it’s probably time for a change.

- Update/move to a new Columbus Crew Stadium

Everything from tweaking the current stadium with upgrades like better premium seating or a new scoreboard to building a new stadium in a more popular area of Columbus has been suggested. It’s doubtful the Crew will move into a new stadium anytime soon, but Precourt should look into ways to make the current digs more fan friendly.

- Secure a prolific goal scorer

As discussed above, the Crew is in dire need of some scoring punch. While the acquisition of Higuain has helped add some creativity to the attack, the Crew is severely lacking in finishing quality. The first roster upgrade for this squad should be at the striker position.

NEXT UP: August 10 – Columbus Crew vs. New York Red Bulls, Columbus Crew Stadium, Columbus, OH, 7:30 p.m. EST, FOX Sports Ohio and MLS Live.

Al DIFRANCO

Nationality:
USA
College:
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.
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