Gyasi Zardes - 5.18.19 - Minnesota United

Finding themselves in quality moments, Crew focusing on final ball details

Columbus Crew SC is back for a full week of training as the Black & Gold continue to hone final-ball execution ahead of the Club's road match against the Colorado Rapids on May 25 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.

Last week against Minnesota United FC, the Crew (5-8-1, 16 pts.) totaled four shots, but head coach Caleb Porter does not feel that was indicative of their play.

“You can’t evaluate chance creation on the shots or expected goals,” he said. “It doesn’t tell a story. At the end of the day, we were in good positions. But also, bottom-line is that we are not scoring goals so we have to look at how we can create more chances.”

Porter mentioned that, ultimately, it comes down to decision-making.

“We talk about how you need to create a chance,” he said. “When you are in those moments, it is the final ball. It is that precision and that decision. Sometimes, we are not finding the right pass. We have got to keep working with guys on that, those details.”

Defender Josh Williams agreed with the head coach's sentiment and said that by making smarter decisions, the goal-scoring opportunities will naturally follow.  

“We were in the right spots. It is just a matter of cleaning up the loose touches in the attacking third. At times, we have the right idea. It is just a matter of having that final connection,” Williams said. “Maybe at times, we are passing the ball too much instead of looking for the shot. Or a guy is wide open, and we look to shoot instead of laying it off. It is just a matter of finding the right connections up there.”

One way that the Black & Gold want to generate opportunities is by creating numbers-up situations.

“One versus one is a lot easier to deal with,” said midfielder Wil Trapp. “Me [and] a teammate versus you, now you have to decide. Creating those situations allows Pipa to find space. Gyasi to find space. Shots to go off.”

One way the team feels they can create numbers-up situations is by bringing their outside backs into the attack.

“If outside backs are threatening more, then now wingers can play in pockets,” Porter said, “which I think frees Pipa up a little bit more. Right now, he is a guy, when he is high without outside backs getting forward, without wingers in pockets, they can lock in on him. And so, he is finding it difficult to find space in between the layers of a team. Everything is like a domino effect.”

Additionally, by bringing the outside backs into the attack, they are able to get crosses off and from there opportunities to score.

“And you think about where those crosses come from and who do they come from, outside backs in a lot of ways,” Trapp added. “Are we getting our outside backs in positions to generate crosses? I don’t think we have done that well enough. It is kind of the cornerstone of how we score goals.”

Supporters can watch the match on SportsTime Ohio, stream on FOX Sports GO, or listen on 97.1 FM The Fan or (English & Spanish).

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