Too Little, Too Late
If the Crew could have found more games in them like tonight’s, we wouldn’t be staring at a second straight season without playoff soccer.
Joseph Ngwenya and Jason Garey got their 4th goals of the season, while Jacob Thomas finally scored his first on an absolute rocket from about 35 yards. Holy cow, what a screamer – it had eyes for the lower corner, knocked in off Shaka Hislop in the wet conditions. It’s hard to believe that was his first goal of the season, it seems so unfair that he doesn’t have more.
Ruiz got a consolation late, and I never did see a replay so I can’t say whether he was offside or not. Bill Gaudette was livid at the linesman after the game, but that’s to be expected – I’m sure that goal cost Gaudette a shutout bonus.
Unfortunately, with New York beating Chicago the Crew are still eliminated. New York now has 35 points, tied with Kansas City. Columbus can finish with 36, but New York and the Wizards play on the last game of the season, so at least of those teams will finish with at least 36 points – and the Crew lose the head-to-head with both squads. No matter what, then, the Crew can finish no better than tied for 4th, and they lose all ties.
This gives Schmid 2 games to play the bench players and start evaluating who’s going to be brought back and who’s expendable. My expectation at this point, based purely on my personal observations, is that Rozental, Vasquez, and Cameron will not be back. I cross my fingers that Virtuoso, Thomas, Coiner, and Burch will all return.
Schmid was talking tonight after the game about needing to probably upgrade the goalkeeper situation, but honestly I’m not sure I agree. Gaudette has shown he’s more than capable in this league, and you’ve still got Busch and Palmer too. If there’s money to be spent (and we’ve got at least the “you suck” allocation coming), I’d rather spend it on somebody who’s going to do the scoring of the goals, rather than their saving.
Plus, the Buckeyes, Notre Dame, and Lille all won. Fulham doesn’t play until Monday. Michigan State lost – to the friggin Illini – but you can’t have everything.