The Crew earned three points in a massive road win on Wednesday night in Seattle against a tough Sounders FC squad, here are three things the victory left me thinking:
STATS ARE OVERRATED
In the two matches of the Black & Gold’s West Coast road trip to San Jose and Seattle, the Crew attack could only muster three shots on target. In those two matches, Columbus scored three goals. While the Crew isn’t getting a lot of quality chances, the attackers are making the most of the opportunities they get on goal.
In the possession battle, Seattle controlled the ball just over 61% of the match. Despite this, when danger lurked, the Black & Gold stepped up to snuff it out. While possession is a nice stat to have the edge in, give credit to the Crew defense that didn’t crack under pressure, led by another MLS Team of the Week-worthy performance from 'keeper Andy Gruenebaum and complimented by the continued outstanding play of Josh Williams in central defense. Carlos Mendes made his Crew debut alongside Williams, and while the 31-year-old began to cramp up towards the end, he brought veteran experience to the back line. Sebastian Miranda was outstanding all night in clearing away the danger from the Seattle attack on the wing. Nemanja Vukovic continued to impress at left back with his defense and ability to attack up the flank.
Justin Meram scored his third goal in as many games when he placed a diving header from a Dilly Duka left-footed cross past Sounders goalkeeper Bryan Meredith.
Crew fans could have easily thought Meram would be up for his second AT&T Goal of the Week nomination. That is, until the 76th minute when Emilio Renteria caught Meredith off his line to chip the Seattle ‘keeper from 24 yards out.
The strike marked Renteria’s first of 2012. Columbus will hope the goal will give the Venezuelan the same swagger Meram had after his first tally against FC Dallas on May 12 and, like Meram, the flood gates will open for more scoring from the forward.
While Andy Gruenebaum acknowledged earlier in the week that the match against Seattle was just another game and he never really thought about the winless history the Crew previously had against Seattle, he did note the victory was a milestone for the club.
“Getting a win in Seattle is a milestone win for us and we hope to build on it on Saturday (against Chicago),” the keeper said after the match. “Then again, it's not the World Cup. It's just a game.”
It’s a long season, but surely the three points in Seattle will build confidence as the Crew look to win its third match of its last five as the Chicago Fire visits Crew Stadium on Saturday.