Hudson River Blue: Are the Crew for real? They've got a couple guys that know how to score, but they've also displayed occasional trouble holding the lead. Is this a team that can win the East and make a run at the Cup?
Massive Report: That’s an interesting question. I guess that depends how you define "for real." Is this team D.C. United? No, not right now. The consistency hasn’t been there, but as head coach Gregg Berhalter has pointed out multiple times recently, hardly anyone in MLS is consistent right now.
In terms of making a run at the end of the season, yes. This team has all the pieces to be dangerous. As you’ve mentioned, the defense has been an issue at times this season. Some of that has to do with the attacking style of play and some of it is on defensive miscues that were uncharacteristic of the club a year ago.
The Black & Gold brought in two defensive players in the transfer window in center back Gastón Sauro and right back Harrison Afful. The hope is that Suaro will help push those already at center back and Afful can lock down what has been a rotating door at right back since Hernan Grana left early in the year.
HRB: Is there any concern in Crew Land that the team relies too heavily on Kei Kamara? Is this a team that can play two strikers without conceding too frequently?
MR: Berhalter was asked yesterday about having more scoring options. He said it’s not a major concern because the team is producing goals at such a high frequency. He did admit, when Crew SC acquired Jack McInerney from the Montreal Impact, that they would like to have more scorers, with just five on the season.
Ideally Columbus would like goals coming from everywhere. The forwards scoring the bulk of them, with the midfield chipping in and defensive players contributing in certain areas, namely set pieces.
With the way things are going, assuming Kamara stays healthy, I think Crew SC will be fine with him carrying the load. With McInerney now behind him to provide a reliable backup, his minutes and such aren’t nearly as big of a concern.
HRB: Columbus was a founding franchise in MLS. How do the faithful generally judge these first two decades? What's been the highest point, and the lowest?
MR: Obviously those in Columbus would have liked to have won more over the first 20 season of the league, but the success the club has had is nothing to sneeze at for a small market club.
An MLS Cup win, over your New York rivals, three Supporter’s Shields, one U.S. Open Cup title and two runners up in the tournament is a pretty nice resume.
Also, having a few of the more iconic players of the early MLS years play for the club, Brian McBride, Jeff Cunningham, Frankie Hejduk, Thomas Dooley, Jon Busch, to name a few, is something the club’s fans look at proudly.
The highest point was obviously the culmination of 2008’s MLS Cup win. The team did not make the playoffs the year before, but took MLS by storm and were the best team in the league.
The low point would probably be the three years prior to that when Crew SC didn’t make the playoffs for three consecutive years, the longest stretch in club history.
Many thanks to Pat and the whole Massive Report crew for kicking it around with us this week! Be sure to check out the reverse fixture over on their site, in which we answer three questions on NYCFC!