Picture Credits: Columbus Crew (@ColumbusCrew)
It was a night that Columbus honored one of the best players to ever wear Crew Black and Gold, but the result would not show that. Columbus dropped a 1-0 decision to Nashville SC Saturday night at Lower.com Field. Columbus was the more dominant team, outshooting the visitors 19-6, but the only line that matters is the scoreline, which saw Nashville lead in. Let's get into the match. Nashville's Alex Muyl scored the game-winner in the 28' minute.
The Crew came out a little slow to start the match. They did have majority of the possession, but they did not do much with it. The Crew did have the two best chances through the opening 15 minutes, with chances from Gyasi Zardes and Lucas Zelerayan. Head Coach Caleb Porter said after the match that he thought the second half was much better, and that Columbus had plenty of chances to put the ball in the net, but just could not do so. "I don't know how we didn't find a goal", Porter said post game. "We had plenty of chances... You have to give Nashville a lot of credit for pulling out a smash and grab three points". Coach Porter recognizes that Columbus had every chance to win this game, but it just wasn't their night.
A Night Of Celebration
As stated above, Saturday night was supposed to be a night of celebration, topped off with a Crew win. But real life is not Hollywood, and the Crew would not give the fans a win. But, do not let that deter you from the fact that it was still a night of celebration. Columbus honored club legend Federico "Pipa" Higuain before the match, with Pipa signing a one-day contract to retire with the Black and Gold. "Everything. Everything has been amazing. Not just for me, but for my family", Higuain said about the tifo the Nordecke made in honor of him. "The most disappointing thing is we had a packed crowd, and we sent them home with nothing... The crowd was awesome tonight", Porter said, referring to the atmosphere the crowd brought to honor Higuain.
Picture Credits: Columbus Crew
A Pair Of Firsts
Crew striker Gyasi Zardes got his first start of the 2022 MLS season, replacing his counterpart Miguel Berry. This would wind up being Zardes' 100th start with the club. Another new addition to the lineup was Luis Diaz, who has made an impact on the field as a substitute through the opening four matches. Yaw Yeboah would make an appearance off the bench after he flew back from international duty with Ghana.
Game Played Out How Nashville Wanted
This is something that Caleb Porter touched on post-game. After Nashville went up 1-0, it was virtually impossible for Columbus to break them down. "I think its a frustrating game because it played out exactly the way they wanted it to play out. We have seen them do that time and again on the road, and they are the best in the league at sitting in a low block and making life difficult." This was a match that Columbus felt they needed to get an early to, which would force Nashville to play much more open, creating more space for the Crew midfield and attack to exploit. "They were just sitting back and waiting for to get to the flanks and attack", Crew midfielder Artur said post-game. In the end, Nashville was able to bend enough defensively without breaking, and that is something the Crew will look at for their next match.
What Could Have Changed
Columbus did not start the match with the same intensity they began the second half with. It felt like the Crew got into all the right positions in the second half, but the only thing lacking was the finish. "The only change that I think we could do better is to start the first half the way we started the second half", Crew defender Pedro Santos said. Offensively, there is not too much to change because we created a lot, just to put the ball in the goal". Columbus was the more dominant team throughout this match, and if they can fix what has been said, they will be in good shape.
Columbus will hit the road once again, this time to Subaru Park in Chester, Pennsylvania where they will face-off with the top team in the East, the Philadelphia Union. The Crew will look to bounce back after their first defeat of the season at the hands of Nashville SC. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. next Saturday, April 9.