Crew View: World Cup break a welcome breather for frustrated Columbus
COLUMBUS -- Any team that lost going into an extended break for the World Cup will say that the respite from practices and games comes at a good time. And the Crew is no exception.
Looking for positives from Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Colorado that extended their winless streak to three, defender Andy Iro hopes history repeats itself.
“Going into the last two years we’ve had a similar break,” he said. “We lost both games going into it then came back energized and focused and went on a tear. Hopefully, we’ll come back renewed and refreshed. We’ve got a home game against D.C. United (June 26), so maybe we’ll go on a roll from there.”
Last season, the Crew lost a CONCACAF Champions League match 5-0 at Mexico’s Cruz Azul on Aug. 26 and followed four days later with a 1-0 defeat at last-place New York.
The Crew had a bye week and returned to go 3-1-1 in the next five league games to ensure their second straight Supporters’ Shield.
In 2008, the Crew lost 2-0 at Houston on Aug. 2 to enter an off-week on a 1-2-2 stretch. They came back and won four in a row and lost once in the final 15 games to win the MLS Cup.
After a 2-0 home loss to Los Angeles, a 2-2 tie at San Jose and the setback at Colorado that came when Drew Moor scored off a free kick in the 85th minute while the Rapids were down a man, many of the Crew players scattered until training resumes on June 14.
“It’s nice to have a little break and try to come back with a little momentum,” midfielder Adam Moffat said. “On the other hand, when you lose a game you always want to come back straight away. The fact that it’s going to be three weeks before the next game will weigh on a few guys’ minds.”
But Columbus should take advantage of their time off because there’s little rest after that.
The Crew (6-2-3) have 19 MLS games remaining. Starting June 26, their longest stretch without a match is nine days. There will also be six Champions League games and at least one U.S. Open Cup match penciled into Columbus’ schedule in the second half of their campaign.
For the team
Assistant coach Mike Lapper answered questions following Saturday’s match in the absence of head coach Robert Warzycha, who attended his daughter’s high school graduation.
When asked if the loss would be credited to him, Lapper laughed, “It goes to the entire staff. I wouldn’t take the credit for us winning the game or for the loss. Robert would say the same thing. We’re all in this together. If I have to take it, I’ll take it. I have big enough shoulders.”
Among the more frustrated Crew on Saturday was forward Steven Lenhart. Sure, he drew Pablo Mastroeni into a red card --Mastroeni retaliated after Lenhart fouled and knocked the ball into his midsection--, but the numbers show it was a tough night all around for Lenhart.
He had as many cautions (one) as shots and committed five of the Crew’s 10 fouls while suffering only one in return.
Despite being fourth on the team in minutes (867), Lenhart leads with 22 fouls and is third in fouls suffered with 17.
A number of things
Comparing the bench after 11 games to the same benchmark last season, Warzycha has used 20 players so far, with 17 starting at least once. Three of the reserves --Duncan Oughton (24), Sergio Herrera (1) and Kevin Burns (1)-- have combined for only 26 minutes.
In 2009, 23 players saw action and 19 started. Three had less than 90 minutes through 11 matches --Andy Iro (59), Oughton (56) and Cory Elenio (17).