Columbus suffered a setback on Saturday night in their 2-0 loss out in San Jose, yet despite some troubling emerging patterns the team is still ahead of the pace set by recent history.
The team’s possession style was matched by a very aggressive Earthquakes team that was not content to let Crew SC have the ball. This flew in the face of the conventional wisdom around the Crew, which had held that Gregg Berhalter’s team was more dangerous if you tried to engage them on their terms. Instead, Dominic Kinnear’s charges stood toe-to-toe with Columbus, and beat them at their own game.
Perhaps more concerning than this single result was this observation from the Dispatch’s Adam Jardy:
After last night, #CrewSC is 0-3-2 on the road this year, having been outscored 7-2. Four of those games have been shutouts.
— Adam Jardy (@AdamJardy) May 17, 2015
Yet beyond these data points from the 2015 season, it is worth looking at how the ten games this year stack up against earlier starts. And it is in this comparison that observers can find some encouraging signs.
Columbus currently boasts a record of four wins, two draws, and four losses – good for 14 points. This total is higher than any of the last four years. Furthermore, the team a year ago was just entering a woeful stretch of results that saw them win only one game between April 1st and July 19th. If Columbus can continue to put together positive results over the next two months, they still appear to be well positioned to improve on last season’s 52-point total.
Still short of the gold standard
While the Crew have posted a better record than many recent years, however, they are still well short of the two best marks in fans’ recent memory. The 2008 and 2010 teams were remarkably consistent, and of course the 2008 group ended up winning both the Supporters Shield and MLS Cup. After ten games, both the ’08 and ’10 teams had won six games, while the 2010 squad had posted an overall record of six wins, three draws, and only one loss.
If Columbus can re-establish the possession and stylistic dominance this Friday against Chicago, the team can maintain their edge over the worst of recent seasons, and even close the gap a bit against the better years. Both the 2008 and 2010 teams lost their eleventh game of the season.