Across the variety of sports, there are a lot of teams who are offensively gifted. They look very pretty scoring goals or points in ways that elicit ooooh’s and ahhhh’s from fans and media alike. Quite often, when those teams find themselves in a situation where they can’t score in aesthetically pleasing way, they tend to frustrate and shrink away from the challenge. The Crew is acknowledged as the most exciting team in MLS, but they’ve shown recently they are more than a pretty face.
Going To The Well
In the Eastern Conference semifinal against Orlando, the Crew was not able to score in regulation. Instead of getting frustrated, they continued to battle until Christian Ramirez scored what many referred to as an ugly goal in the 93rd minute. It wasn’t pretty, but Wilfried Nancy’s team did not care. They showed a willingness to get their hands dirty to put the ball in the net. Fast forward a week to the Hell is Real Part III battle for the right to go to the MLS Cup final. The Crew fell behind 2-0 and still trailed late in the game before fighting their way back to tie in the final minutes. Their pressure was relentless and it eventually wore down Cincinnati to the point of exhaustion. Ramirez again scored the game winner-this time in the 115th minute. In a game that was not for the faint of heart, the Crew found a way to win for the second straight week in a hostile environment. Herb Brooks, the legendary coach of the Miracle on Ice hockey team, once said. “We went to the well again-the water was colder, the water was deeper.” To me, that is the perfect description of the Crew’s performance the last two weeks.
Are you surprised? Did you think the Crew possessed this kind of fortitude? In two consecutive games on the road against what many considered better teams, the Crew showed they are willing and capable of going to a very cold, deep well. Of all the things they have done to this point in the season, this has impressed me as much as anything. Why? Because it is an intangible-it is something you can’t teach. The Crew is more than a pretty face.
One more well awaits. The MLS Cup final against defending champion LAFC is going to be the coldest and deepest yet.