After the dismal performance against NYCFC, DC needed to turn it around, and the short amount of time between the games meant that the team didn’t have to needlessly focus too much on the past, and were able to focus on the future. I said after the last match that things needed changing up, and the fact that we lacked pace going forward, Ben Olsen was obviously listening. The teamsheet that was sent out was a 4-2-3-1 with Birnbaum slotting in at left back, but it appeared that we were playing a 3-4-2-1. Reason for the apparent Birnbaum at left back or the 3 CB’s was that Donovan Pines returned to the starting lineup. And boy did he have a match. He was solid, towering above the Crew and sweeping up a lot of balls that managed to work their way through.
1st half wise we were the better side, we had lots of play going forward and looked like we could score multiple goals. Referee was laying down the law early doors though, giving Birnbaum a yellow card for a challenge after 3 minutes had gone. Play was mostly in the final 3rd of Columbus’ half, with great one twos between Arriola, Acosta, Rooney and Rodriguez. They seem to be gelling well together and I would love to see the same going forward into further matches.
The moment of the game came in the 25th minute when Josh Williams brought down Arriola on the edge of the 18 yard box. A foul which he was booked for. Well, I’ll show what happened next.
Wayne Rooney doing what he does best, putting the ball in the back of the net. Some very clever thinking from Wazza on this, I see a lot of players who would have gone for the over the wall attempt and miss, he puts around the wall, ball bounces right by the keeper which makes it difficult and gets it in with plenty of pace too.
After that Columbus decided to go on the offensive and getting Hamid to pull out some amazing saves. They took another 3 attempts at goal, with Hamid needed to make 2 saves.
2nd half however was a different story, a bit one-sided really. Columbus were a huge threat and had identified that our left side was our weaker area. What they didn’t account for was the towering CB’s who dealt with 21 crosses, and only lost 3. That’s a hell of a lot in the 2nd half and just shows how much pressure we were under. Great defensive qualities and we could do with that each and every game. Columbus again made Hamid work too with 2 shots on target and him coming to deal with the crosses. What worked brilliantly for DC towards the end of the game was bringing on Amarikwa. In those final few minutes he controlled possession and used up valuable time doing so. Even Arriola had the last say in the game with Zack Steffen making a save from his effort, you could tell it was a tired attempt though as it trickled towards him.
After that the referee blew the final whistle. The referee himself had some really good points, one in particular for identifying that Hector Jimenez diving in the penalty box and giving him a yellow card for doing so. I’ve seen countless times a ref has not given a penalty for the same thing and not done anything about it. This needs to be more consistent, and not just for fouls in the box but wherever on the pitch.
Man of the Match
For me it has to go to Donovan Pines, he was the official MotM, and I totally agree. For someone who has made his 2nd start in MLS, he looked incredibly comfortable, I’d love to see him start more games and be an integral part of the backline for years to come. He could become a very good player, not just for DC, but for the USMNT.
Do you agree with my thoughts, or have anything to comment, drop that below or send me a tweet. I look forward to debating it with you!