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GAME FIVE: FC DALLAS v. COLUMBUS CREW
The Columbus Crew couldn’t get anything going against an FC Dallas squad that was firing on all cylanders right from the start. Rookie Brek Shea looked like a general in the midfield, controlling play and tempo and making everyone around him better. By the 11th minute, he already had a goal and an assist and Columbus had no answer for him. Eddie Gaven’s injury last week had him playing at obviously less than 100%, but with Duka as the only dressed midfielder, the Columbus boss was loathe to pull Gaven.
Down 2-0 and still within the first 20 minutes of the match, the Crew suddenly came to life, firing 3 shots in 3 minutes and beginning to show some heart on the road.
But it was too little, too late. With a perfect cross into the box, Attiba Harris found Dax McCarty unmarked and the latter drove home a 3rd FCD goal in just the 33rd minute. Not to be content with that lead, McCarty took over in minute 41, with a steal, deft ball control and a powerful shot from Area B that earned him a Brace and sent Columbus’s keeper Will Hesmer to the showers, having conceded 4 goals (out of 5 shots-on-goal) in the first 41 minutes.
With Andy “the Hebrew Hammer” Gruenebaum manning the net, Columbus looked a little more of-sorts. FC Dallas seemed content with a 4 goal win, however, and went to a defensive 4-5-1 formation for the entire second half. The Crew went home battered, depressed, and facing a hostile press. Eddie Gaven’s injury turned out to be worse than initially thought, and he is confirmed out for next week’s match versus New York Red Bulls.
MAN OF THE MATCH: DAX McCARTY
Anyone who’s ever played one of these Cards & Dice sims, whatever the sport, has experienced a run where one side just seems to get all the rolls. In this game FCD started out with the hot dice and by the time the dice cooled off, Columbus didn’t have a chance.
The Eddie Gaven injury story is interesting, actually. He did get an injury roll in week 1 that was supposed to keep him out of week 2. I actually forgot about it, though, and noticed when compiling the stats after this game was over. When I looked back at the play-by-play, I was surprised to find how awful the Columbus mid-field played, how many times he had the ball stolen from him and how little he actually contributed. It really did seem like a guy playing at less-than-100%. Funny how these games work out like that sometimes. I kept him out of week 3.
Final note: I awarded the Man of the Match immediately after the game to Dax McCarty on the merit of his 2 goals, but after reviewing the game for this write-up, Brek Shea was probably more deserving all-around.