COLUMBUS - So many times this season the Crew lineup has been the result of the injuries that plagued them from the first game.
Saturday’s mixture of players out of position or unfamiliarity with teammates was mainly a result of the tinkering by coach Robert Warzycha, but the changes were ineffective in the 2-0 loss to visiting Sporting Kansas City.
Of course, there were the absences of injured midfielder/defender Danny O’Rourke and Milovan Mirosevic but the benchings of outside backs Sebastian Miranda and Nemanja Vukovic were out of the norm.
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Warzycha said the changes were simply because they were beaten for their spots during the week’s practices, but the reshuffling in the back proved costly when SKC scored six minutes into the game.
“We put ourselves on our heels early,” goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum said. “They had a game plan that worked right. Once they got that early goal they kind of sat in, made it difficult for us to break them down then countered. That’s how their second [goal] came.”
Bernardo Anor, a second-year converted midfielder made his first start and just his second appearance at left back and was part of a backline caught ball watching as Jacob Peterson split the defense and took a pass from Peterson Joseph for the first goal.
“Miscommunication. They caught us off guard,” Anor said.
It was a rude welcome for Anor, Josh Williams – making his first start at right back after playing in the middle – and Eric Gehrig in his first start as a centerback in seven games.
“There’s a reason the coach puts us out there,” Williams said. “He trusts us. You’ve got to trust ourselves, trust the guy next to us.”
He didn’t feel SKC did anything extraordinary to exploit the backline.
“We put pressure on ourselves with bad passing and not shifting properly and losing the ball in bad spots,” he said. “They only came out with one forward. They weren’t pressing us that much.”
In the latest result of a frustrating trend, the Crew were shut out for the sixth time this season.
They average an even goal per game this season.
“In the second half we played a little quicker and we were getting into spots that were more dangerous and creating good chances” Warzycha said. “We had momentum, we had chances… You have to score.”