Columbus was a big stop for the Montreal Impact as it won its first away MLS game since September 2013 A 2-1 win was the perfect template for the Bleu-Blanc-Noir on how to win away games. Since, Frank Klopas' players have not been able to exactly replicate that performance.
Questions for the Massive Report
Mount Royal Soccer: Gregg Berhalter is in his second year as the Crew's head coach. Does he have a distinct team and recruiting philosophy?
Massive Report : I would say so. Berhalter is very detail oriented. He came to his interviews for the position with a plan and how he would execute it and that's what impressed owner Anthony Precourt.
Since he's been the head coach, he's installed a very distinct style that goes into his whole philosophy. The team wants to play an attacking, entertaining, possession-based style no matter who they are playing or where the game is. This hasn't led to results all the time - as it sometimes leaves the defense a little exposed - but more often than not it creates more chances than it allows.
In terms of recruiting, that goes hand-in-hand with the style of play. Berhalter has scouts around the world looking for players that would fit in this system. So far, he's hit significantly more than he's missed with additions like Kamara, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Michael Pakrhurt, and Mohammed Saeid. All of these players were brought in because of how they play and it's worked within the team game.
MRS : Kei Kamara, Ethan Finlay and Higuain are the key to the Crew's offense. Do you try and stop them or do they have a tendency to self-destruct if they don't sync up during a game?
MR: So far this season Kamara and Finlay have been on almost every game and it's led to impressive stat lines (12 goals and five assists for Kamara and five goals and 10 assists for Finlay). These players have been near unstoppable, along with Justin Meram and Higuain as an attacking front four.
Higuain is a little bit different because he roams free throughout the game. Despite four goals and four assists on the year, it almost appears that he's having a bad season. This is not the case. While some games he tends to be more fired up, he's always a factor in the match. Sometimes he's getting the ball deeper because that's what the game dictates, and in those instances he may not produce statistically like he would when he's in the attacking third. No matter what, he remains the attacking catalyst of the game.
It's hard for me to imagine these three, along with Meram, self-destructing because of the nature of the system. The team is going to attack and those players are going to get chances. There have been nights where it hasn't come together completely and they haven't gotten on the score sheet, but that hasn't occurred often for the league's second-best attacking side.
MRS : Is Columbus, with the new ownership, willing and able to get a star DP player to bolster the product on the team and the brand in Columbus and Ohio?
MR: I believe if the right opportunity presented itself, Precourt would splash the cash. But it would have to make sense for the team.
Last year, the Black & Gold came very close to signing Mix Diskerud, but negotiations broke down at the final hour. In that instance, Precourt would have opened the checkbook to sign Diskerud to what would have likely been Crew SC's second Designated Player contract.
If I'm being honest, I don't think it's likely the Black & Gold end up with more than one DP. Berhalter has found players that perform well and work within the confines of the cap space.
The biggest position of need right now for Columbus is at right back, after the early season departure of Hernan Grana, and I don't believe the club would bring in someone at that position who would require DP-type money.
Projected starting XI:
Hector Jimenez-Michael Parkhurst-Emanuel Pogatetz-Waylon Francis
Ethan Finlay-Tony Tchani-Mohammed Saeid-Justin Meram
There is a slight chance that Wil Trapp could return to the starting lineup in this game instead of Saeid, but I think that's rather unlikely due to his fitness.
Merci Patrick Murphy / @_Pat_Murphy_
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