Takeaway Points: New England
The Black & Gold's unbeaten streak was extended to six matches as the Crew battled New England to a 0-0 draw, here are three big reasons why:
1. DANDY ANDY
There's not much that can be said about Andy Gruenebaum that hasn't already been said about the Crew 'keeper this season. Once again, Gruenebaum was stellar between the pipes against the Revolution, recording six saves in the process of another shutout. He will likely be up against himself in the Save of the Week running this week with his fingertip deflection to send Saer Sene's 29th minute rocket into the crossbar and his left-handed save of Fernando Cardenas' close range strike in the 38th minute.
His clean sheet against the Revolution was Gruenebaum's fifth shutout of the season. The Crew 'keeper currently leads MLS in saves (57) and save percentage (80%) among goalkeepers with at least 1000 minutes played in 2012.
2. ALWAYS-READY GEHRIG
Eric Gehrig made yet another spur-of-the-moment appearance for the Black & Gold on Saturday, coming on for Carlos Mendes in central defense at halftime. Gehrig's heroic late game slide tackle on Kelyn Rowe helped keep the scoreless draw intact.
Whether it was finding out he was starting just hours before kickoff in Toronto earlier in the season or his halftime appearance on Saturday in New England, Gehrig's versatility and ability to step into tough situations has made the second-year player a valuable asset in Robert Warzycha's arsenal this season.
3. POSSESSION AND PASSING
Against New England, the Crew owned possession for 54-percent of the match compared to New England's 46-percent. Though the result was different, compare that to the 39-percent that the Black & Gold held possession in its last road match in Seattle. In that match, the Crew managed just five shots compared to 13 Columbus had in New England despite none making it into the net. Columbus also completed 77-percent of 446 total passes.
While the Crew has proven that it can win games without winning the possession battle, owning possession more than its opponents--especially on the road--will lead to the more consistent, attractive soccer that Robert Warzycha desires.