Takeaway Points: Portland Timbers
The Crew came away with a hard-earned point in Saturday's 0-0 draw in Portland. Here are three positives to take from the West Coast road trip:
1. ALWAYS READY
For the second time this season, Eric Gehrig was called upon just before kickoff as a last minute replacement in Robert Warzycha's starting XI. With Crew captain Chad Marshall sidelined with concussion-like symptoms after taking a knock in training on Friday, Gehrig stepped in and performed admirably in central defense, just as he did replacing Danny O'Rourke in Toronto earlier in the season. Much like the match in Toronto, Gehrig helped the Black & Gold to a clean sheet and an always important road result.
2. WILLIAMS CONTINUES TO IMPRESS
What does Josh Williams have to do to get on the scoresheet?
Last week against Vancouver, the third-year defender had a goal disallowed because of a Chad Marshall foul in the box and beautiful bicycle kick hit the crossbar. Against the Timbers, Williams continued to be a threat on set pieces for the Crew. He registered three shots on Saturday, two of which were on goal, to lead Columbus offensively.
Defensively, Williams didn't skip a beat in his third consecutive start. He dealt well with the physical play of Timbers forward Kris Boyd and the speed of Darlington Nagbe. Williams' performance earned him his second-straight Barbasol Man of the Match honor as voted on by the fans.
3. THE SURE-HANDED HAMMER
Goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum rebounded from last week's loss with an impressive performance in Portland. Gruenebaum made six saves, tying a season-high on his way to the Crew's third clean sheet of 2012. Gruenebaum's save of Rodney Wallace's left-footed rocket in the 20th minute should receive strong consideration for MLS Save of the Week.