Takeaway Points: Montreal
The Crew lost for the first time ever in Canada on Sunday night, losing 2-1 to the Montreal Impact. Here were three things to take from the loss:
THE BETTER TEAM
Though the Impact didn’t make its way onto the scoreboard until Zarek Valentin’s far post strike in the 79th minute, Montreal was clearly the aggressor from the opening whistle.
Having conceded three goals in each of its three straight losses, the Crew knew the Impact would come out firing.
“They're going to come out flying at home,” goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum foreshadowed earlier in the week. “They're a dangerous team. Our back is going to be against the wall a little bit.”
The Crew was outshot 25-9 by Jesse Marsch’s side as Columbus couldn’t find the right link in the final third.
“I think we kept them very controlled in the first half. And then while the minutes were going on, we started defending closer to our goal,” Milovan Mirosevic explained. “When we got the ball back, we were too far from their goal. It was difficult because the minutes were passing and the legs were not as fresh as we wanted them to be.”
Meeting with the media after the match, head coach Robert Warzycha credited his counterparts.
“Montreal was the better team. The better team won,” Warzycha complimented the Impact. “They were pushing. They wanted it more.”
The Crew will look to cure its attack woes ahead of next weekend’s home match against top-of-the-table Sporting Kansas City.
One positive for the Crew was the return of two-time MLS Defender of the Year Chad Marshall in central defense.
Though Marshall was happy to be back on the field after missing two months with a concussion, he was disappointed in the end result in Montreal.
“It was nice to be back out there and to be able to go 90 minutes,” Marshall said. “Obviously, I’m frustrated at the way it turned out. I wish we could have held on.”
Marshall’s partner in central defense, Josh Williams, was relieved to have veteran’s presence return to the back line.
“To me, it's like a safety net,” Williams praised his teammate. “I've said it time and again, I think (Marshall) is the best defender in the league. You never really have to worry about him. I know if I slip up or anything, I've got Chad back there. It was a breathe of fresh air. Not to say that Julius (James), Carlos (Mendes), or (Eric) Gehrig can’t do that, but you just can't replace the best center back in the league.”
O’ROURKE’S PRESENCE MISSED
After returning to the lineup last week against Real Salt Lake, Danny O’Rourke missed the trip to Montreal due to a nagging ankle injury.
The veteran’s ability to disrupt opposing attacks in central midfield and facilitate the game was sorely missed by the Crew in Montreal, especially after the team took a 1-0 lead in the 64th minute.
The Black & Gold will need O’Rourke back to stay in the playoff picture as the club withstands the midseason grind of the summer months.