It was a beautiful day for soccer in Columbus but a not so beautiful first half display by the Crew.
Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper both bagged braces for the second time this season as the New York Red Bulls beat the Columbus Crew 4 to 1 in a tale of two half’s.
From the opening kick off to the half time whistle New York bossed Columbus showing us why they are the hottest team in the MLS. Before I could sit down in the press box the Red Bulls were on the scorecard.
Henry assisted a Kenny Cooper goal in the 3rd minute and Cooper added another unassisted goal ten minutes later. New York showed poise in possession and strength on defense. Besides a few free-kicks in to the box, Columbus showed very little attacking prowess.
At the 18th minute mark Dane Richards had a powerful shot miss wide right and I remember thinking that this could be a blow out. Every other line in my game notes read: COLUMBUS IS GIVING NY WAY TOO MUCH SPACE.
Some said they were giving NY to much respect. In the 40th minute Thierry Henry took that respect, latched on to a pass from Roy Miller, and tucked the ball away in the back of Gruenebaum’s net. New York’s 60% possession would send the Crew into half-time down 3 to nil.
I’m not sure if it was the halftime speech or home pride but the second half was a different story for the Columbus Crew. From the whistle Columbus was putting pressure on the ball. They were closing down players and creating chances in the final third. Early subs Dilly Duka and Ethan Finlay made an immediate impact by putting pressure on the Red Bulls and creating goal scoring opportunities.
Emilio Renteria, who had a quiet first half, came alive and had back to back chances. There was a good ten minute period where you thought Columbus was going to start a comeback but it came to little to late.
The Crew did spoil New York’s clean sheet by scoring in the 89th minute. Kirk Urso’s corner kick was headed in by Chad Marshall but New York marched right back down to the other end of the pitch and scored.
Henry closed the night out with a 90th minute goal making it 7 goals in 3 matches. After the match in the locker room Eddie Gaven said, “In front of the great crowd we have, to go out and play the way we did is just not good enough.”
But hold on Eddie, there are some positives to take from this match.
Rookie Ethan Finlay looks very promising and Dilly Duka seems ready for a spot in the starting eleven. A fight-to-the-end attitude from the players and the unconditional support from a fantastic crowd are reasons smile if you’re a Crew fan. There is no debate that the Columbus Crew looked very dangerous in the second half.
During the post-match press conference Crew coach Warzycha said, “We can play with teams like New York if everyone is on the same page, we showed that in the second half.” Before the match there was debate about the two previous Crew victories. Some said that the wins were against weak teams.
Lets not forget about how hot New York are right now.
So the question is how do we judge the Columbus Crew? By just the second half, I say very promising.
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