RSL took it to a banged up and shorthanded Columbus squad last night, mostly behind F Robbie Findley’s hat trick (the first in RSL history). Both teams were missing some internationals, but the weather, fatigue, and lingerging injuries (M Robbie Rogers, F Guillermo Barros Schelotto) did the defending champs in. Crew fans should find some consolation in the team’s first two performances; the team on the field at the Rio Tinto was vastly different from the one that threw away a win against TFC in Columbus. The Crew’s defense looked sluggish and RSL’s athletic forwards, Findley and Yura Movsisyan were able to take advantage of that. The disconnect between Schelotto, Rogers, and F Jason Garey further propounded Columbus’s problems, as they were unable to create anything in the box. It’s clear that the Crew missed Hejduk, Moreno, and a healthy Rogers. On a night when even Chad Marshall looked suspect, the Crew were never going to come away victorious.
Crew Player Ratings:
GK Will Hesmer 5: The first two goals were entirely Hesmer’s fault. He wasn’t able to hang onto a free kick and his poor kicking continues to haunt the Crew after kicking one right to Robbie Findley, giving him an easy 1-on-1
D Gino Padula 7: Padula continues to look more and more comfortable in MLS. His offensive support is minimal, but he is solid at the back and last night’s effort was no different.
D Danny O’Rourke 5: Often tries to rely on his pace to beat forwards one-on-one, but showed once again that he doesn’t have the ability to outfox more athletic attackers. Looked overmatched all night.
D Chad Marshall 6.5: Made several important tackles, but also had a few slip-ups. Never made any impact on the Crew’s numerous set pieces.
D Jed Zayner 6: Another marginal performance from a marginal player. I’m surprised RSL didn’t attack him more, he never does anything too spectacular at the back, but he did what he had to do. Doesn’t add anything to the attack from the fullback position because his delivery into the box in marginal.
M Brian Carroll 6.5: Was able to keep RSL’s playmaking M Javier Morales out of the game. On the other hand, he looked downright uncomfortable with the ball at his feet.
M Robbie Rogers 5.5: Did not contribute much. It’s clear that his injury is still bothering him. He didn’t look confident on the ball and his delivery was poor.
M Emmanuel Ekpo 6: Had a few positive plays on offense, but looked overmatched by RSL’s physical defense. Doesn’t often get a chance to use his pace in the middle of the field, and his one-on-one efforts are nullified by being surrounded by defenders.
M Eddie Gaven 6: Was one of the lone bright spots on offense for the Crew. Made good runs and used his speed, but was single-handedly responsible for an RSL goal when he whiffed on a corner.
F Guillermo Barros Schelotto 6: Kept at bay by RSL. Made some good passes, as well as some foolish ones. Probably hampered by the injury he picked up last week.
F Jason Garey 6.5: Notched the lone Crew goal and worked hard all night. Couldn’t capitalize on a few chances.
F Alejandro Moreno 5.5: Clearly tired from traveling 12,000 miles. Had little impact.
F Steven Lenhart 5: Continues to be unimpressive. Made from the hard-working Moreno mold with less strength and skill.