Sunday, November 1, 2009

Crew Recap: No Fear

By El Chupacabra

Yes, we're disappointed at yesterday's playoff result. But not for the reasons the casual Crew fan might expect.

El Chupa was dismayed not to see Schelloto in the starting XI, but given the result and the comments by Warzycha, he agrees with the strategy.

We wrote that we'd be happy with the draw, and appprently Warzycha decided that he'd prefer shutting down RSL at midfield and at the back in exchange for looking to score only on the counter-attack. And for 88 minutes the strategy worked.

A quick review of the Crew blogs (click here and here) reveals how frustrated Crew Nation is at the moment, from the Scioto to the Olentangy, from South Bloomfield to Delaware. From Reynoldburg to West Jeff. And it's understandable. The Luchametric clearly shows how the Crew are an entirely different team with Big Willie running things, creating opportunities for others as well as threatening the opposition's goal by his lonesome.

But Luchametric tells us something positive about the Crew's chances in the home leg this Thursday: RSL stinks away from Rio Tinto. Barring a draw, a 1-0 loss was really the next-best result for the Crew. RSL scored only nine goals over 15 away games all season or .6 G/GM. And as we wrote in our preview, the two teams were virtually the same in every other category. The Crew return to their own beds and to the friendly confines of Crew Stadium where the Nordecke hordes have inspired them to score 25 goals or 1.67 G/GM. Keeping RSL from scoring was really the number one goal at Rio Tinto, as the Crew needs to advance on aggregate goals scored, and their best chance for scoring, even running up the score, is at home in C-Bus

In life, as in the beautiful game, there is randomness built into the very fibre of football. Statisticians who study football argue over things like the Bernoulli principle and the Poisson distribution. But for the serious fan who thinks numbers are very useful tools but doesn't feel like getting an advanced degree in higher math, you simply need to know that randomness, or uncontrollable variables, are part and parcel of the game. In short, luck plays a part in when, how, where, and how often goals get scored.

Yesterday RSL got lucky. That's the way it goes. It is unfortunate for the Crew, but they are hardly on the ropes. They score at home, and they defend well at home. So we relish the chance to see them crush the dirty thugs from RSL and send them packing.

Yes, they better come to play, and we better see Schelotto in the starting XI on Thursday. El Chupa knows that at every level of sport, a team has to come inspired. Cool and calm is, in short, bullshit. So the Crew needs to step it up. The games are played on the pitch, not on paper, or on your Playstation, Xbox, or Atari. You can bet RSL will be motivated. The Crew needs to play like it's the last game of the year and leave absolutely nothing on the pitch at the end of 90+. We expect they will play like the champions they are. C-bus 'till I die.

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