Carl's Keys to the Game vs. Columbus Crew

Valentine tells us what the 'Caps need to do to get another win
  1. Keep Mattocks involved

Darren Mattocks is a focal part of our attack and the more touches he has on the ball the greater impact he has on the game. We know Darren has explosive speed and a keen eye for goal, but when he shows for the ball and gets the ball at his feet it does two things:

  1. It keeps him sharp throughout the match, which is crucial when a goalscoring opportunity arises. A striker needs to get touches on the ball to get into the game.
  2. It drags defenders with him, opening up space behind him for himself or other teammates to exploit. This was evident on the ‘Caps goal vs. Toronto, when the attention he drew opened up space for Y.P. Lee.

 

  1. Watch out for Higuain

Since coming into the league last August, Federico Higuain has been on fire.

The Argentine started off this season right where he left off last year by scoring Columbus’s opening goal in a 3-0 victory at Chivas USA.

A focal point of the Crew attack, Higuain can hurt you in a number of ways – whether it’s a simple tap-in, a header, or a spectacular goal from distance. He likes to drop deep to receive the ball, which means our defensive midfielders will also have to be aware of where he is to help out our defenders. Columbus is not a one-man team, but a lot of their play goes through this man.

 

  1. Get Columbus defenders facing their own goal

The height of the Crew defenders reads like this: 6-foot-2, 6-foot-2, 6-foot-3, 6-foot-4.

That means that any balls in the air will be tough to win. Offensively, what our ‘Caps will need to do is counter this by getting in behind their fullbacks and crossing the ball low and hard on the ground.

Most big men are not so quick on the turn, which means when you get them running back towards their own goal they’ll have a harder time defending and end up scrambling around. Chivas had the Columbus defenders feet crossed on several occasions, they just weren't able to finish their chances.

Mattocks, Manneh and Hurtado – it’s up to you to attack them with speed and make their heads spin.

 

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