In a recent article, I spoke of the scoring slump the Crew is mired in lately. The league’s highest scoring team hasn’t gotten many goals at all from their attack and has mostly relied on set pieces and penalty kicks for scoring. They’re creating chances and getting lots of shots, but for a myriad of reasons-good goalkeeping, no luck on rebounds-the ball isn’t going into the net. Sometimes a change can be a way to jump start things. A change like inserting another goal scorer into the starting eleven. So, I’ll ask the question: Is it time for more Christian Ramirez?
Who would sit?
Obviously, it would not be Cucho and his fifteen goals, nor could I see it being Diego Rossi. That leaves Alex Matan. I know he’s considered a playmaker and his eleven assists, which has him tied for tenth in the league, bears that out. However, in his last eleven starts, he has only four assists and two of those came in one game. He’s completed less than eighty percent of his passes in three of his last four games, after being well over that mark and even beyond ninety percent at times. If head coach Wilfried Nancy wants to make a change up front, Matan looks to be the one to replace in the starting lineup.
The Ramirez Factor
To me, the first thing Christian Ramirez brings to the Crew offense is his size. At 6’2” and 187 pounds, he brings a physical presence into the area around the opposing goal. Once he has position, opposing defenders have a hard time moving him. In addition to his size, the native of Garden Grove, California has a nose for the net as evidenced by his eight goals in the first seventeen games of the season. Since the arrival of Diego Rossi, his playing time has been drastically cut. Since a September 2nd start against Montreal, he’s played just 75 minutes in the last six games. That’s not nearly enough for a guy who is a finisher and is willing to make a banzai run to the net to make an attempt on a cross-something that’s been missing from the Crew’s offensive repertoire.
At this juncture of the season, do I think Nancy will make a change like this? No, I’ll be very surprised if he does. But I think it’s something that is needed to help the Crew’s offense regain its scoring touch.