Late Anor winner gives Crew reserves 2-1 win
By Kyle Whitman
Tony Tchani set up a goal in each half as the Crew reserves picked up a 2-1 win over the Chicago Fire reserves at the Crew Training Center in Obetz. The Cameroonian midfielder provided two similar assists in towards the back post for Konrad Warzycha and second half substitute Bernardo Anor either side of a Fire equaliser that came early in the second half.
Chicago started the brighter of the two teams in the first few minutes but the Crew quickly came into the game and were much the better side in the first 45 minutes. Center forward Ryan Finley’s target play was strong throughout the opening half. He held the ball up well, keeping possession long enough to allow wide midfielders Justin Meram and Ethan Finley to make bursting runs down the channels. Meram and Finley both looked dangerous running at the Fire fullbacks. Meram in particular showed his technical quality cutting inside from the left.
Tchani and Matias Sanchez were able to control the midfield, dictating the tempo and switching the point of attack from one side of the pitch to another. Sanchez sat just in front of the back four as the deepest midfielder in the Crew’s 4-3-3 formation and provided a consistent passing option. The Argentine’s composure on the ball and technical ability were noteworthy. Tchani played in a box-to-box role to the left of Sanchez, pushing forward to give the Crew numbers in attack then making defensive recovery runs. Despite being guilty once or twice of being a little too nonchalant in possession in the defensive third, Tchani’s overall performance was excellent. He provided the creativity and the final ball required to unlock the Fire defence in the final third.
The Fire improved slightly in the second half, enjoying more possession than they had in the opening period, although they rarely looked like creating any genuine goal scoring chances. Columbus’s back four of Chad Barson (replaced in the second half by Kyle Hyland), Kevan George, Eric Gehrig and Drew Beckie had fairly comfortably dealt with Chicago’s forays forward. The Fire’s equaliser therefore came as a bit of a surprise. Crew goalkeeper Matt Lampson wasn’t able to deal cleanly with a speculative shot from well outside the 18, allowing Colin Rolfe to tuck home the easy rebound for Chicago. The damp, snowy conditions at Obetz were hardly kind for a goalkeeper but Lampson should have been able to parry the ball around the post for a corner.
The Crew would have the last laugh however as Anor would get on the end of another ball towards the back post from Tchani to tuck home on 86 minutes.
The reserves should be able to build off what was a positive performance today as they head to New York to take on the Red Bulls Sunday. The senior side will enjoy a weekend off before hosting the Philadelphia Union at Crew Stadium April 6.