For those who remember Rodney Dangerfield, you’ll recall his schtick was, “I don’t get no respect.” In the mid-80’s, the legendary comedian did a series of publicity photos with college basketball players, who felt they were being overlooked by the media and not given much respect, while wearing the team’s jersey. If he were around today, Dangerfield would be posing in a Crew jersey, because they are getting no respect as they head into their first-round playoff series against Atlanta United.
What They’re Saying
Of all the predictions I’ve read, few are picking the Crew to advance to the next round. They point to the Atlanta scoring duo of Georgios Giakoumakis (17 goals) and Thiago Almada (11 goals, 19 assists) and feel those two will be able to exploit what they say is a spotty Crew defense. Predictions of an Atlanta series victory are being made despite Almada missing the first game due to a red card suspension. Most all agree it will be a close series, but feel The Five Stripes are talented enough to take two of three from the Crew.
Let’s start our argument with the Crew defense. Here is something that will probably surprise a lot of people: The Crew gave up seven fewer goals than Atlanta during the regular season and finished tied for 13th in goals against-Atlanta was way down in 22nd. But, I think it is more important to look at the latter part of the season. Since the collapse against Orlando back in September, the Crew conceded just five goals in six games. Atlanta gave up more goals in fewer games during that time period-eight goals in five games. The Crew is the better defensive team.
My guess is few who have made predictions of an Atlanta first-round win actually saw the game between these two in early October. The Crew controlled the game, outshot them 22-10, was clearly the better team, and they did this on the road. A dumb foul and poorly defended free kick late in the game allowed Atlanta to salvage a draw, but the Crew is more than capable of handling an Atlanta team that is at full strength.
In case those making predictions didn’t notice, the Crew finished third in the Supporter’s Shield standings. That’s T-H-I-R-D…THIRD!! Not thirteenth, not ninth, not even fifth…THIRD! This team did a lot of things right in 2023 to finish that high in the standings but is still not getting the respect it deserves.
Ya know what? That’s fine. Let the Crew play the Rodney Dangerfield role of “I don’t get no respect” and prove them all wrong.