COLUMBUS, Ohio – Studying a team through the prism of defeat can reveal flaws that otherwise might go undetected, said Crew coach Robert Warzycha in the wake of Saturday’s 3-1 loss at Chivas USA.
“Sometimes it’s good to lose because you might see something that you wouldn’t if you win,” he said. “It’s good for the coaches and good for the players because they come down to earth.”
WATCH: FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS
Talk about landing without a parachute.
Midfielder Eddie Gaven was knocked out of the game, literally, after a violent collision between his head and the knee of Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy in the 13th minute and the Crew were off-kilter the rest of the way.
Throw in a couple of miscues from the back line and an opponent that was disciplined and aggressive and the result was one of the uglier setbacks in recent memory. Taking a cue from Warzycha, here are five things culled from the game:
1. Sometimes speed isn’t enough for left back Shaun Francis. The rookie had looked confident in his first career start a week earlier vs. Houston, but his indecision led to Chivas’ first two goals.
2. Emilio Renteria is prone to the same disappearing act as the rest of the forwards. The Crew were 3-0-1 with nine goals in his first four starts but the Venezuelan was a non-factor Saturday. He came into the match with goals in two straight games and left without a shot in 65 minutes.
3. Even Superman has a Kryptonite game once in awhile. Guillermo Barros Schelotto was also way off the mark. Maybe the spate of games, including 45 minutes in the MLS All-Star Game in Houston last week, caught up to the 37-year-old.
4. Yes, they are professionals, but they are humans first. Crew players admitted to being rattled after Gaven was helped off the field while in considerable distress. He was said to have blacked out and had no memory of the play.
He underwent further evaluation on Monday, and Warzycha said the team is preparing to play without him Thursday at Philadelphia.
5. Gaven’s loss had a ripple effect. His replacement on the right flank, Robbie Rogers, and Emmanuel Ekpo on the other side tended to drift into the middle more than Gaven and took away some of the options for Schelotto. Rogers had four shots but none were on goal.
CREW CUTS: Rookie midfielder Othaniel Yanez from Louisville was released without ever playing a game. … Peruvian international striker Andrés Mendoza is training with the team this week and is being given serious consideration. … A week after the Crew Juniors U-19 team won the US Youth Soccer national title, 14 of the players were on the Crew’s U-20 squad that Sunday won the United Soccer League’s Super-20 national championship with a 2-1 win vs. the Los Angeles Galaxy Super-20s. Crew technical director Brian Bliss coached both title-winning teams.
NOSE FOR THE GOAL: Forward Steven Lenhart had been goal-less in league play since his only score of the season May 1 and had missed the previous two games because of a broken nose. Still, he came off the bench on Saturday to score in the 88th minute without the protective mask he had used in practice.
“It felt good to run around,” he said. “I wasn’t hesitant at all. The reason I was training and getting fit and ready is because I feel like I’m 100 percent.”
A NUMBER OF THINGS: The Crew are 2-2-4 on the road but have two losses and two ties in the past four away encounters while scoring three times. They are 0-2-4 vs. Western Conference teams on the road. … Even though the Crew’s 34 points (10-4-4) have them on top of the East, they have more losses after 18 games than they did a year ago (6-3-9, 27 points).