I’m sure when many of you read the title of this article you thought, “What is he talking about? The Crew has scored more goals than anyone else in the league.” Well, that’s quite true. The Crew, along with St. Louis City, lead MLS in goals scored with 62. To really understand what I’m getting at, it takes a closer look at the Crew’s last few games.
A misleading total
In their last three games, the Crew has scored five goals. But, that total isn’t quite what it seems. Three came on Cucho penalty kicks, another was on a Cucho header off of a corner, and there was an own goal against Dallas. In those three games, the Crew attack has produced zero goals. Now you see why that five-goal total is misleading.
Things are not as bad as they appear
Despite the lack of goals produced, there is nothing wrong with the Crew’s attack. They are creating plenty of chances, but for one reason or another have not been able to capitalize. Against Dallas, Diego Rossi’s chip over goalkeeper Maarten Paes was cleared away at the last second by a hustling defender. Later in that game, Cucho’s shot beat Paes, but hit the post. Saturday night, Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Andre Blake was so good against the Crew (9 saves on 9 shots on goal) he was named to the MLS Team of the Matchday. In their last three games, the Crew has fired 53 shots on goal with 18 being on target. Sometimes it’s soccer luck and sometimes the other guy just makes a good play, but there is nothing wrong with the Crew attack.
Will a change help?
After saying I feel there’s nothing wrong with the attack, I’d still like to see a change made to the lineup. Entering the game around the 60th minute, Christian Ramirez made his presence felt. When he was fouled in the 69th minute, the ensuing free kick led to Cucho’s game-tying penalty kick. Later, as time was running out, he was blatantly pulled down from behind in front of the Philadelphia net as the ball rolled towards him-this was an obvious foul and a penalty kick should have been awarded. At 6’2”, 185 pounds, Ramirez is not a little guy and gives the Crew a bigger body around the net. He has eight goals and four assists, but has not started any of the team’s last four games. Maybe it’s time to put him in the starting eleven and see if he can help them find their scoring touch again.
The best thing for the Crew to do is just keep firing away, because with the playoffs looming, they need to find their scoring touch in a hurry.