Columbus Crew Falter In IMG Suncoast Pro Classic


Columbus Crew SC wrapped up the group stage of the IMG Suncoast Pro Classic. After going on a 9-0 goal extravaganza against Costa Rica U-23 and London United, Crew SC stalled against Philadelphia Union. Eventually Crew SC fell 3-5 in penalty kicks making for an ominous preseason thus far.

On one hand the fact that the Kei Kamara led offense in generating points and wow factor. Designated Player Federico Higuian is continuing his brilliance now that he isn’t being swarmed by defenders. Any way you stare at it, a 10-1 goal run is extremely impressive for a team that hemorrhaged points last season.

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The ugly side to this pretty stat line is that they have now lost both games to MLS teams. After the first match, a 1-3 loss to FC Dallas, it appeared to be the same song on the Ohio team fiddle. This normally mournful ballad of failed potential and mediocrity sprouting out of the state like crabgrass started playing in the aftermath of the match.

Following their two match win streak against Costa Rica U-23 and London United, Crew SC fell into a 0-1 hole less than a half hour into the match. Justin Meram pulled the Crew back and left the match as a 1-1 draw that lead to penalty kicks. Meram’s shot was saved and without a save on the opposite end, Union moved on to the finals.

Now in regular season this would have been a draw against a talented team. Keep in mind that constantly drawing like a bored art major doesn’t tend to lead to a playoff berth, just ask the Chicago Fire. Putting up a flashy score, yet failing to actually direct that success against actual competition leads to a sports rut the size of the buckeye state. As much as Ohioans hate to admit it, hoping for a professional championship is nothing more than an exercise in futility.

Kei Kamara has proved, thus far, to have been worthy of all the acclaim from his transfer. As many times has he has scored this preseason you start to wonder if the other teams even fielded a goalkeeper. If you want to fish for a positive light it can be the team seems to have consistent attackers as opposed to the peaks and valleys of the younger players.

One thing to note is the fact that Hector Jimenez is still being started at full back. Which makes sense when you consider the crowded midfield and the fact that Jimenez is not an attacker… excluding the occasional Superman moment. Jimenez has surprisingly filled the role perfectly and has helped keep athleticism to the back line.

All things considering, the Crew are only averaging one goal a game and none of these have been played at home. Head coach Gregg Berhalter has put together a very talented team on paper that should, notice the key word, put together another solid season. Of course, if you wanted things to go like they do on paper you might as well just load up the newest FIFA title on your game system.

So far the Crew seem ill prepared to start the MLS season. Much like the middle of last season, mental errors seem rampant and often times are the only hurdle that seems to hold them back. Crew SC are to communication issues as T-Mobile are to dropped calls. If the Crew can get their communication straight, even two cans with a string would be an improvement, they can be a legitimate contender. In the meantime, every MLS game will be an Ohio gamblers nightmare.

Next: 2015 MLS Team Preview: Philadelphia Union