MLS Week Three: Real Salt Lake v Columbus Crew
April 4, 2009 2 Comments
I wasn’t planning to write about this game but having just seen the MLS highlights package I felt a compulsion to do so.
The primary point being that the theme of the MLS so far this season is just how bad the defences are. I mentioned it repeatedly when watching a selection of the games from week two but if this game is anything to go by then it may be the rule rather than the exception.
To put this into context, Columbus are not a joke. They reached the league’s showpiece final last year and are generally quite well respected. Even in a more fair league like major league soccer, where it’s not a matter of who has the most money wins, there are still some sides better than other and ahead of this season Columbus were still expected to be a strong outfit.
However, how can a side of this level (and American soccer heads with a knowledge of the English game compare the level to the English Championship) have such a comedy goalkeeper. While I’ve probably seen William Hesmer play before, in a league where so many of the players are unknown to me it is only the truly exceptional or the exceptionally bad who stand out on a first viewing. Unfortunately his name is now ingrained into my consciousness and not for the good reason.
For the first RSL goal, a somewhat powerfully-struck free kick spins straight towards him. The very top keepers may have caught this but any solid professional would parry it away from danger or turn it around the post for a corner. The one thing you don’t do it palm it straight out in front of your box, get up slowly but quick enough to see the ball go past you into the goal. 1-0.
Then after his side had worked to get an equaliser he miscues a long punt up field, under no pressure at all, straight into the feet of the massively advanced Findley who rounds him with ease and tucks into an open goal. 2-1. By this point Findlay is on the verge of a hat-trick without having had to do any real work.
The third goal was not outright his fault but he annoyed me nonetheless with his moaning as soon as the ball hit the net, because a defender at the near post failed to head away a corner and the Findlay headed in his third. His mannerism was almost like “Oh God, what chance do I have with this type of defending?” when in reality this goal would have been no more than an equaliser had you performed competently at all.
For what it’s worth, I actually just think this was a good goal. It was a perfectly whipped in corner by Clint Mathis which was too high for the near post defender but dipped perfectly into the path of Findlay who powerfully headed home. Questions can be asked about the marking but I ultimately think it was just good forward play.
Everyone is entitled to a bad game and I will try to keep an open mind on him when I see him play next. Ironically he did make two good saves, both from Yura Movsisyan (good name), who, after the second one was turned away, had a flabbergasted look on his with the sheer disbelief at this Jekyll and Hyde goalkeeper who gifted his teammate two thirds of a hat-trick but worked wonders to deny him when the game was already lost.