Eddie Gaven will be the first to admit that the Columbus Crew attack hasn't been up to par through the first five matches this season.
"I just don't think we've been dynamic enough, to be honest. We make it very easy for the other team to play defense against us. I don't know why that is." the veteran midfielder explained after Wednesday's training session in Obetz. "I don't know whether it's our running off the ball or if it's the last pass or last shot. There just seems to be something missing."
"We're missing the final pass. We need a little cold-blood in front of the goal," Crew head coach Robert Warzycha added. "We've created chances, but it seems like nothing wants to go in the net."
Columbus failed to put significant pressure on a Philadelphia Union back line that was missing its captain Danny Califf until the final minutes of last week's 1-0 loss at PPL Park. The sense of urgency the Crew played with in the closing minutes of the match in Philadelphia is something the club would like to carry over into this week's match against the Houston Dynamo.
"We just need to be a little bit more high pressured and try to take the other team out of their comfort zone a little bit. It's not always easy to do that for the entire game, because it takes a lot of energy," Gaven said. "
It's something we need to do from minute one: try to get some goals early and take pressure off our defense so we don't have to have to (press so much) in the last 10 minutes when we really need a goal at that point."
Personally, Gaven is looking to become more involved in the Crew's attack. The 25-year-old has only registered four shots through five matches this season. He averaged over two shots per game in 2011 as a crucial cog in Warzycha's offensive plans.
"I've got to try to find the ball more, a little bit higher up the field. It seems like the past few games most of the times I've been able to find the ball has been back in my own end or at midfield, which is fine, but I obviously want to try to find it in areas where I can put someone through or hit a shot or put a ball in the box," Gaven said.
Warzycha added, "It think more than anything, (Gaven) needs to be in the right spot. He wants the ball all the time, but he's getting the ball in the wrong areas."
The Crew will hope its attacking problems are solved when it welcomes the Houston Dynamo to Crew Stadium Saturday night (7:30PM EST/ FOX Sports Ohio).