Admit it Crew fans, the season-opening win against Toronto FC had you buzzing about a great season. That vibe lasted less than a minute into Saturday as the Red Bulls handed Columbus a 2-0 loss in what could be best described as a drab performance by the Crew.
So was it just a case of the Crew having an off night or is the club’s need for a target forward going to become an issue that dogs the team all year? If anything was clear on Saturday, it’s that if Guillermo Barros Schelotto doesn’t come to play, the Columbus attack will be toothless.
SBI correspondent Rich Fidler was one of many Crew fans who watched the disappointment unfold on television. Fidler shares his take on the Crew’s first loss of the season (Agree or disagree with Rich? Feel free to share your opinion of Rich’s piece in the comments section below)
Season opening vibes fade after bad loss
By Rich Fidler
It only took the Columbus Crew 47 seconds to ruin the good vibe they’d gained from the devoted fans last weekend in beating the Maple Patch Girls when Dave van den Bergh received a ball taken off the foot of Argentinean wunder-midfielder Guillermo Barros Schelotto and blasted a skipping ball past Will "Ricky Bobby" Hesmer.
The first Crew goal was a comedy of first minute errors; first there was Schelotto and Brian Carroll’s pathetic effort to track back on van den Bergh as he beat both of them to the free ball. Then it was the failure of an entire defensive unit that decided to give the 31-year old Dutchman all the space to wind up and take a crack. And finally, as the ball skipped across the wet turf at Giants Stadium – and speaking of, who the hell actually waters plastic grass but those in Jersey – it was Hesmer who could only parry the skipping ball in to his own net.
Yet it wasn’t quite over for the visitors, who were clad in their "home" yellow jersey on the road for the first time this season – as Kevin Goldthwaite pounced on ball in the box when surrounded by a mass of canary yellow and scored a goal in the eigth minute.
Who is Goldthwaite you ask? I didn’t know either so I went to Wikipedia and he’s caught former Crew forward Jeff Cunningham as he’s playing for his fourth MLS team in as many years – but don’t worry Jeff, rumor has it you’re on the trading block in Toronto and will join team number five soon.
It was a comedy of errors as Juan Pablo Angel sent a van den Bergh corner kick back in to the box from the far end-line. Instead of pouncing on the ball like any pyscho-eyed keeper (no, not you Hansbrough) I’ve seen play this game over the last 31-years, Hesmer danced across the area as if he was playing hop-scotch, bouncing past Goldthwaite and ending up past the 6-yard box on his feet when the ball settled in the net.
Danny O’Rourke – Worthington Pride Danny, Worthington Pride – gave up his second penalty in as many games, but it was Hesmer who stood large just like last weekend when he tipped Angel’s poorly placed penalty shot over the cross-bar to give the Glidden-clad Ohioans a shot that they would find impossible to capitalize one.
Sure, the Crew maintained possession throughout the second half – but it was facing a New York team that was comfortable with their two-goal lead. And that goal looked even better against a team that continues its’ quest from last year to see just how many times it can be shut-out.
Things were so desperate that despite having "target" man Alejandro Moreno up top, second half substitute Ezra Hendrickson and his lanky frame charged to the front for the final 10 minutes hoping to catch an errant Frankie Hejduk cross in the 8th row. It wasn’t going to happen and the signing of a formidable striker, or hell even any striker that can consistently put the ball in the back of the net looks like the glaring need for the 8th season in a row – Stern John’s fourth cousin from his mother’s side of the family isn’t coming any time soon.
The Crew head home Saturday and the hope is that returning home in front of 7,000 cheering fans will spur them on to victory against a Chivas USA side that leads the meager Western conference with four points from two games and is pretty used to such meager crowds.