New York 1, Columbus 0: Uninspired Crew Gets Cut by Energetic Red Bulls

Chris GiffordContributor ISeptember 2, 2009

Okay, first things first: Giants Stadium is huge and terrible for soccer.

Red Bull Arena can't open soon enough. I'm sure the Meadowlands is a great place to go watch throwball, but for footie, not so much. It's cavernous, it's empty, the pitch is tiny, and the surface is almost comically hard.

Now, about the game. Neither team played well, which was to be expected from RBNY, but the Crew really should have come away with the win. Plenty of chances, superior talent, better coaching—the Crew wins this game on paper any day of the week.

But that's why they play the game.

I was impressed with the "never say die" attitude New York showed. Those guys know they're just playing for pride at this point, and they did everything they could to make sure Columbus didn't walk all over them. I think it's called "mental toughness" in the biz.

As for the Crew, it was one of the least-inspired games I've seen them play in the last two years. They were literally just going through the motions, merely looking forward to a night on the town in Manhattan.

It was obvious that not a lot of heads were in the game.

They could have put on a clinic and won by four goals, but they didn't.

They could have taken first place in the league (Houston lost earlier in the day), but they didn't.

There were about fifty things they could have done to leave New Jersey with three points and first place, but none of them happened, for whatever reason.

They say every team has its off days, and I think that holds true here—to a point.

But at the same time, I just didn't see any fire in the eyes of the Columbus squad on Sunday night. I don't know if the guys didn't care, or were looking past RBNY, but in the end it showed on the scoreline: they got beat by a team that flat-out wanted it more.

Let's hope that was a fluke, and not an indication of things to come.