COLUMBUS, Ohio – Robert Warzycha has become known for tinkering with his lineup in order to get the best results as he navigates the Crew through a busy schedule.
Wednesday's match against Kansas City was sandwiched between last Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Houston and this Saturday’s showdown at Crew Stadium against second-place New York.
In the past, Warzycha might have rested several starters for a midweek match because he has so much faith in his full roster. However, he threw a curve against the Wizards and went with the same starting XI for the second straight match.
The strategy didn’t work because the Crew fell 1-0 to the Wizards (4-8-3) on an early Teal Bunbury goal and seven saves—several of them spectacular—by Jimmy Nielsen.
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Yet Warzycha was unapologetic.
“I thought that was the team lineup that would win the game,” he said.
He made several substitutions early in the second half, but he said he was still happy with how his starters came out after the break.
“We started pretty well in the second half,” he said. “We created some chances with the same group that started.”
Maybe so, but the Crew’s scoreless streak is now at 225 minutes after being blanked for the second straight game—and the fourth time in the last seven.
“Overall, we were happy with our performance, but not the result,” goalkeeper William Hesmer said. “For the most part they didn’t have many chances, but the chances they had were quality chances.”
The Crew also had several great chances, but they were consistently denied by Nielsen.
Emilio Renteria entered in the 65th minute, Steven Lenhart followed a minute later and Emmanuel Ekpo was summoned with 15 minutes to go, and all three had scoring opportunities that will give Warzycha something to think about as he prepares Saturday’s lineup.
In the final moments the Crew flooded the box and bodies were flying, but the Wizard kept their composure.
“We were pushing for it but unable to get it,” Lenhart said.
Prior to the match, the Crew had two wins and a tie since returning from the World Cup break, but they looked tired having played two U.S. Open Cup matches. That shouldn’t have been the case, though, as Warzycha used a different lineup for one of the Open Cup games last week.
Defender Chad Marshall said the team must regroup before Saturday’s game against New York in Crew Stadium. The Crew (8-3-4) lead the Red Bulls by two points in the East.
“It’s frustrating, but we have to get back to training (Thursday) and sort things out,” Marshall said.