Offensive woes plague Crew in latest draw

Hesmer shines, but Columbus can't solve veteran Busch

COLUMBUS – The Crew have
rediscovered their defensive game, but they’re still searching for goals.

Even though William Hesmer set a
club record with his 11th shutout of the season, his simply could
not dent ex-Crew member Jon Busch and had to settle for a scoreless tie
Saturday in rainy Crew Stadium.

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While the Crew (13-7-7) clinched a
playoff spot with Kansas City’s loss to New York, the Red Bulls moved a point
clear of Columbus in the Eastern Conference with three games left.

“We still want to win the East,”
Crew coach Robert Warzycha said. “We are going to do everything we can to win
those games.”

They’ll need to get untracked in
front of the opposition net, because the Crew have been blanked in the past
three home games, including another scoreless draw against FC Dallas on Aug. 24
and a 4-0 blanking by Seattle Sounders on Sept. 18.

The Crew’s home goalless streak is
280 minutes.

“We cannot finish the last touch,”
forward Guillermo Barros Schelotto said. “Sometimes we make a mistake.   prefer
to tie this way than when you don’t have any possibilities to score.”

The Crew had several good chances,
but Busch, who played for the Crew from 2002-06, denied Steven Lenhart in the
72nd minute and pushed a Chad Marshall header over the bar in three
minutes later.

“Buschy was the man of the match,”
Warzycha said.

But the Crew boss was more upset
that the Crew had only four shots on goal out of 17 attempts.

“We created some great chances and
didn’t score,” Warzycha said. “That was the story of the game. We created
chances. You have to put the ball in the net. Whoever is in front of the goal
has to have more composure.”

At least the defense showed up.
After allowing nine goals in the past three MLS games, Hesmer had to make only
two saves to break the clean sheet mark first set by Busch in 2004 and equaled
by Hesmer in 2008 when the Crew won the MLS Cup.

“Congratulations (to Hesmer),”
Busch said. “That’s fantastic. The only thing he’s got that I really want is
that MLS Cup ring. That’s the only thing I care about. If I can get one of
those, that’s all that matters.”

Hesmer said the past few matches
have been tough for him personally.

“I take a lot pride in our defense
and have never been a part of something like that since I’ve been here,” he
said. “We’re getting back to the basics and being more attentive and being more
vocal. We’re not taking anything for granted and saying things that need to be
said and not relying on the fact we’ve been there before.

“It’s a great testament to our
defense and our team defending,” he added. “We got away from it for a couple of
games but tonight was what Crew soccer is all about. We’re out there battling.
We’re winning aerial balls. We’re blocking shots. The guys did everything I
could ask for.”

Except put the ball in the net.

“It’s OK for us,” Schelotto said.
“We know it’s coming.”