New York’s offense was predictable; get the ball out wide, target Marshall and James, and send in a barrage of precise over end long ball’s in the direction of Thierry Henry.
Columbus coach Robert Warzycha was actually hoping for that scenario. “That’s what we wanted – to defend the long ball,” Warzycha told EoS. “Actually, James and Marshall they were picking up the long passes and nothing happened.”
Though New York would only break the backline once for a goal, the constant threat pushed what was a high line defense into a more manageable backfield shell by the end of the night. The centerback’s difficulty with Henry despite their knowledge of New York’s gameplan was so frustrating, team captain Chad Marshall simply did not want to speak about it after the game.
To their credit, the Crew did well to control the ball at midfield in stretches in a traditionally difficult place to play. However, their backline needs to find an answer to their stoic centerback duo if they are to contend with speedier threats heading into the playoffs.