Crew SC entered the week needing a win to secure 2nd place in the east and a bye to the conference semi-final. What it got was probably the most impressive performance by the team in the Gregg Berhalter Era. The Massive missing it’s two best offensive players to yellow card accumulation suspension, hung a 5 nil result on the hated DC United scum.
Let that sync in for a moment. Think of all the players that usually don’t get the chance to make an impact in a game and think of what they did to a playoff side in the most important game of the year. Mohammed Saeid, who has played most of the year as a defensive midfielder in the Wil Trapp role filling in for the incomparable Federico Higuain, playing an amazing through ball to Jack MacInerney for the game winning goal. The aforementioned McInerney, who joined this team on a trade midseason and has been battling injury the last few weeks on the field for Kei Kamara who has had one of the finest seasons in Crew history, getting the game winning goal and an assist. Kevan George, who at best is our 4th string central midfielder, coming in to spell Saeid after his injury and locking DC’s midfield down. All the starters like Ethan Finlay, Justin Merem, Tony Tchani, and Wil Trapp, that elevated their game to make up for the lose of two impact players. Think of the embattled defense that has had to endure criticism after criticism all year for the amount of goals they have let in, posting their second shutout in a row. This was a performance for the ages. It was a true total TEAM win. The win meant everything to the 2015 regular season, yet now, it means nothing as the team enters the playoffs.
On Wednesday and Thursday, 4 teams will square off in a one match knockout round which will determine the Black and Gold’s next opponent. The only certainty is that Crew SC can not face Toronto FC in the Conference Semi-Finals as New York Red Bull is assured the lowest seeded pairing. If Montreal beats TFC, the Crew will face them in the two leg aggregate goal series. If TFC beats Montreal, the Crew will face the winner of the DC vs New England Revolution match. Montreal is a team that has been on the rise since Didier Drogba joined them late in the year. It’s not a team the Black and Gold have had success against this year, even without Drogba, losing both of their games to the Quebec side this year by a combined score of 5-1. They are a team that likes to sit back and counter at speed and that is the type of team that has given Crew SC fits all year. NE is a side that has played up and down all year. They are a very capable team when they are on and clicking as a unit. The Crew has never won a playoff series against NE, having last been eliminated by them in the previous season on their run to MLS Cup. Likewise, DC is a team the Crew have never defeated in the playoffs, having lost 3 straight years in the Conference Finals in the early years of MLS. Should they be matched up, this would be their first playoff meeting since 1999. The Crew are 2-1 against United this season on a combined 7-3 aggregate goal. DC is a team on a downward spiral and I would be shocked to see them advance past the knockout round.
The first Leg of the Eastern Conference Semi-Final will be Sunday November 1st. The time is still to be decided. As always Crew Union will be hosting a watch party at 4th Street Bar and Grill. I hope you’ll join us. Remember to bring your membership card for 20% off drinks and 25% off food. If you’re in the Cincinnati or Cleveland area, check out their bars to watch with other Crew fans. Please go here for details.
Tickets for the 2nd Leg game Sunday November 8th are currently on sale in the webstore.
Glory to Columbus!!!!