Three things we learned from Columbus Crew’s 2-1 loss to the New York Red Bulls

Wilfrid Nancy viewed the crew matchup against the New York Red Bulls as a one-on-one test of what the crew coach wanted from his team at the start of the season.

Contrary to the Red Bulls’ typical onslaught, Nancy’s desire for the team to be patient with the ball and maintain possession of the ball even under heavy pressure faced a difficult challenge. The crew withstood the pressure for most of the first half and got a goal from midfielder Alex Matan in the 33rd minute to take the lead, but in the second half the Red Bulls enjoyed the mistakes the team made under pressure en route to victory. victory 2-1.

The team has yet to reach the full 90 minutes during which they play the way they want and dictate their style to the opponent. They played solidly in the first 45 minutes in Philadelphia, then beat D.C. United despite failing to get the maximum possession Nancy wanted, and then took control of the last 30 minutes in Toronto on last week. On Saturday, the Crew was in the lead until the 58th minute, and then the Red Bulls began to take full advantage of the opportunities provided to them by the Crew.

“Before we conceded the goal, we had a good game,” Nancy said. “After that, we had a hard time dealing with their pressure and dealing with their intensity. This is something we need to improve.”

Perhaps as expected, four games as new manager and the team has shown plenty of reason to be optimistic about how they end up looking under Nancy. But in the near future, it looks like it will take some time to fully understand what Nancy wants and be able to execute her system at a high level.

The crew remains committed to building from the back

Nancy is deeply committed to how he wants the team to play; he has described his playing style as a way of life for him.

Against the Red Bulls, that meant holding on to the ball under pressure and trying to build up the defense, rather than throwing long balls through pressing the three in front. Matan’s goal was the result of a long serve from defender Steven Moreira, but the crew did not look for such opportunities throughout the game.

The team did not include striker Cucho Hernandez, who was dropped from the roster due to knee pain at the end of the week. Normally, he would have been the main player in charge of running in defense to get passes from above, so it’s possible that Hernandez’s absence has made the team more committed to playing through the Red Bulls press.

“We will play the way we want,” Nancy said on Wednesday. “I won’t change that because I think it’s the best way to play. But this does not mean that we will have to make short passes. lines, maybe we can play behind the line, maybe we can play the other way around on the weak side.”

The crew wanted to switch the ball to the other side, as Nancy had suggested to do earlier in the week when they had overloads on one side of the field, but the rallies rarely paid off; The Red Bulls regularly recovered the ball before the crew had time to pass the ball across the field.

In the face of pressure from the Red Bulls, the team struggled to complete the buildup schemes they were looking for. Only two players, Moreira (91%) and linebacker Aidan Morris (98.4%), finished with a pass rate above 90%, and the Crew completed 81.3% of their passes as a team – their second lowest of the season.

“In terms of decision making, we could play more behind or around them at certain points,” Nancy said. “The fact that we couldn’t get out of the pressure and gave them the opportunity to score, that’s what we knew and that’s what we have to get better at.”

Columbus Crew struggle to create scoring chances against New York Red Bulls

Officially, the team recorded just five shots in Saturday’s game, three of them on target, compared to 15 shots and four on target for the Red Bulls. Despite the team having 62.2% possession of the ball, most of that ball was in the defensive half of the field as they tried to break through the Red Bulls’ pressure.

Without Hernandez, Nancy started with midfielder Lucas Zelarayan in the center of the front three, joined by Matan and Yau Yeboah, and had no real striker in the starting lineup. Forward Jacen Russell-Rowe came on for Yeboah in the 62nd minute, giving the team a striker for the first time in the game, but Russell-Rowe was unable to consistently stretch the Red Bulls’ defense.

Matan’s goal was a lucky one as his shot slipped under goalkeeper Carlos Coronel’s outstretched arm, slid across the grass and eventually rolled slowly into the net. The crew landed two shots on target in the second half – one Yeboah in the opening minutes of the second half and one Zelarayan in stoppage time – but otherwise they didn’t threaten to score with any regularity.

“We know that (Hernandez) is very important to us,” Nancy said. “Now we have to play without Kucho, which we did. We achieved good results in the first half. In the second half we also had opportunities to score, but we didn’t finish the game.”

New York Red Bulls Reveal Crew Vulnerabilities During Transition

Nancy used the word “punishment” twice to describe how the Red Bulls took advantage of the crew’s mistakes. On both goals scored by New York, the sequence began with a quick play by the Red Bulls; the first was winger Corey Burke winning the ball from center back Philip Quinton, causing Quinton to fall to the ground, and in the second, New York intercepted Moe Farsi’s pass and quickly attacked down the field. Red Bulls left-back John Tolkien rushed in to catch a pass from Christian Casseres and Tolkien crossed the box to an unnamed Dante Vanzeire at the far post.

“We did a good job when we started the second half, throwing the ball from side to side, attacking and keeping the opportunity to attack the box,” said Nancy. “But after that, when you don’t do it against the New York Red Bulls, we know we can be punished. That’s what happened. They scored two goals in transit.”

The crew wants to play through the middle of the field and send the players forward in attack, but when they lose the ball in these areas, as in the case of New York, they are vulnerable to quick counterattacks. Quinton off-balance before the first goal didn’t help matters as the team suddenly defended a passing chance with one underdog in play, but on the second goal cornerback Jimmy Medranda was within range of Vanzeir and didn’t step on. to mark it.

“We need to increase the intensity of decision making, and we have not succeeded,” Nancy said. “After that, they had these opportunities. They didn’t change anything. They just put in another striker and continued to apply pressure. Again, we didn’t manage the two chances they had.”

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