Crew Thoughts: Match Day 2

The Columbus Crew dropped two points in the final moments of the game against Minnesota United in an all to familiar storyline for Crew fans.

Columbus Crew
Columbus Crew / Jason Mowry/GettyImages

The Columbus Crew and Minnesota United clashed in an intense match on Saturday, March 2 for the Crew's second game this season. It was a rollercoaster of emotions for both teams and their fans in a game that felt wide open at times with great end-to-end play from each team. Let's take a look at the good and the bad from Match Day 2.

The Good:

Cucho's Continues Great Form

Columbus Crew’s Cucho Hernandez found the net in the 59th minute. His powerful strike from roughy 21 yards beat Minnesota’s goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair to the bottom corner of the net, showcasing Hernandez’s goal-scoring prowess. The run-up to the goal started deep in the Crew's half of the field two great passes to break Minnesota's defensive lines released Max Arfsten on the break before he found Yaw Yeboah who knocked down the ball to Cucho for the strike. The sequence was smooth as butter.

"Hernandez has contributed to goals in 10 consecutive matches, going back to the postseason last year. That streak has been one of the bright spots in Columbus' great offense."

Patrick Schulte is the Real Deal

The young 22 year-old keeper continues to prove that he is the ready for the big moments. He was credited with 3 great saves to preserve the Crew's lead. See two of his incredible saves below to deny MNUFC. If Schulte continues to impress he may get a chance to represent the USA soon!

The Bad:

Go Go Diego?!?

Diego Rossi has not impressed over two games this season. At times he has looked lost and sometimes the attack fizzles out with the ball at his feet. He is finding himself in good positions but I'm not sure he has been the replacement for club legend Lucas Zelarayan that fans were expecting. The hope was that he would be able to benefit from a full offseason with the team but he just hasn't seemed to gel. I talked about the expectations for him here, he just hasn't lived up to them just yet.

Crew Achilles' Heel

Over the past two years spanning two coaching staffs, the Columbus Crew have struggled with conceding goals in the final minutes of games. Whether it’s a lapse in concentration or fatigue, these late goals have cost them valuable points. The coaching staff must address this issue to ensure a stronger finish in future matches.

The dropped points and going from a road win to a draw is an all too familiar feeling. Anyone should have and could have cleared the ball in those moments and we would be talking about a great road win. Should Nancy have made a substitution to have a few fresh defensive legs in the final moments of the game? Could defensive back Sean Zawadzki made a difference in those final moments? Maybe the large frame and physicality of Derrick Jones could have helped. We may never know. However, I'm interested to see what Nancy changes moving forward.

Final Verdict

A road draw is not the worst outcome in the marathon that is the MLS regular season. But losing points from a winning position in the dying embers of a road game hurts. Hopefully the Crew can shake off the shock and keep things from spiraling out of control late in games.

Honestly, I was expecting some rotation against MNUFC to set the team up for fresh legs with the upcoming schedule congestion but Nancy stuck with his first-choice starters at almost every position. With a midweek CONCACAF Champions Cup matchup with Houston before a match with rival Chicago Fire on Saturday, it will be interesting to see how Nancy rotates the squad.

With no U.S. Open Cup participation from the Crew, I'm hopeful the organization will take the international competition seriously!