MLS Draws Part 1: Columbus v Kansas City and Chicago v Real Salt Lake

21 July 2008

Columbus Crew 3 Kansas City Wizards 3: Both back lines will be doing some extra work this week that's for sure. After Kansas City with two goals up with two goals in two minutes, Columbus put three in within twelve. It took the re debut of Josh Wolff to deny Columbus all three points as Wolff's 75th minute equalizer gave KC a share of the spoils.

Kansas City should be highly thankful for the contribution of one Kurt Morsink. Morsink had a major contributing factor on all three Wizards goals. I am confident in saying if it wasn't for Morsink, Kansas City loses this match. He was the glue that pieced the midfield to the forwards. His winning of the ball in the 24th minute was the only reason why KC had a 2-0 lead to begin with. Jack Jewsbury also deserves a little praise. Despite coming forward a couple of times too many, his final passes to Espinoza and Wolff were right on the money.

I have to wonder if Schelotto doesn't convert on the free kick in the 26th if this match doesn't completely change. It was wise of Schelotto to first not ask for ten yards, but then to wait for Hartman to start cheating back to the far post before shooting. In fact it if wasn't for Schelotto, Columbus doesn't get any of the three goals. His crossing on the other two goals were major contributing factors.

Both back lines have to be seriously taken to task. On 2 of Kansas City's three goals, both Columbus center backs were not only out of position, but didn't even bother trying to get back into the play. The same could be said for the second Columbus goal. The Crew's third was just pathetic from Jimmy Conrad as he didn't look bothered trying to mark Chad Marshall.

I wouldn't have risked Josh Wolff for the whole second half (maybe the final 25 minutes), but he did enough to confuse Columbus and set other people up.

In the end, the draw was the fair result. However, this was not as entertaining as the scoreline would lead you to believe. With as many breakdowns in the midfield and at the back, the only thing more surprising is how this game didn't end 4-4, or yes, even 5-5.

Chicago Fire 0 Real Salt Lake 0
: If this was a game of crossbar challenge, this would been your brand of entertainment. However, this was a simple game of football. Both Jon Busch and Nick Rimando were tested for ninety minutes, but no one was able to find the back of the net as the game ended scoreless at Toyota Park.

Three things really struck out to me in this game that was really surprising. The first was how poorly both teams did in switching the field. It was almost like neither side wanted to do so. It got even more apparent towards the end of the match when both sides would start in the center of the park and just picking a side to work on. It allowed both back lines to set up and the midfield to crowd the penalty area. When you are unable to stretch teams out, the logjam in the middle is going to be prevalent.

The second thing that struck out to me was the poor set pieces. I am racking the brain really hard trying to think of a good scoring opportunity from a free kick or a corner. In a tight game like this where neither side is doing anything during open play, the set pieces have to be better. Even Blanco's set pieces tonight were borderline horrific.

The final thing that stuck out to me was how much space the midfield was giving. It was allowing too many unmarked runs in the first half and chances on goal that you wouldn't see most weekends. It did get better in the second half, but it wasn't that much of an improvement.

While this game was entertaining, technical it was not. It was sloppy and lacked direction. It also goes to both teams problems up front. Both Jon Busch and Nick Rimando deserved two week's pay for their performance between the sticks and I expect Chicago and Real Salt Lake to send letters to the maker of the goal posts for saving their skins on multiple occasions.With both back lines having to work double time, the nil draw was about the fair result.


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Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

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