HTiOT: What happened in Montreal? [The Crew lost 3-0 in Montreal last weekend.]
MR: That is a great question. Crew SC have had a problem conceding early goals the last several matches, but have been able to come from behind to at least get a point in each of the last four heading into that game. In this one, the Black & Gold dug a bigger hole that usual, conceding twice in the opening eight minutes.
Head coach Gregg Berhalter called the performance unacceptable and that's a good way to put it. This team has been an enigma to try and figure out, but the side can't just roll over for a team, even if they get down early.
I would hope Columbus responds with the quick turnaround in this game, but that hasn't always been the case this year. The Montreal loss was probably one of the worst losses of the season, so the team will hope there's only up to go from there.
HTiOT: How are Kei Kamara and Federico Higuaín feeling about getting snubbed for the MLS All-Star game? Are they glad to have the extra rest?
MR: I don't think anyone really thought Higuain would make the team even though he's played well this year. His statistics just aren't great and that's what we thought attracted voters.
Kamara and Ethan Finlay on the other hand (the MLS leader in goals and assists) aren't too happy about it.
With the way these two have played this year, really dominating teams offensively, there's no question in my mind they should be in the All-Star Game. It's not surprising that the fans didn't vote either player in because they aren't some of the biggest names in MLS at their respective position and Crew SC is rarely on national television for fans outside of Columbus to see play.
Don Garber's picks of Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard aren't surprising either, but rather disappointing. Garber's job is to make the game exciting and get people to watch, and names like Lampard and Gerrard representing MLS is sure to draw more attention than Kamara or Finlay, even if they are the two of the best statistical players in the league.
I'm confident Kamara will end up on the team when the remaining 10 players are added, as he will already be in Denver representing Chipotle for the Homegrown Game. Finlay probably deserves the chance, but is less likely to get the call.
If either or neither makes the team, they are both professionals and will continue to go about their business this season, but I'm sure they will remember that going forward.
HTiOT: What's the feeling around Columbus about the Berhalter Project? Please tell me no one's getting antsy.
MR: The run the team made the second half of last season that saw Crew SC rise to third in the East and make the playoffs for the first time since 2011 got fans to realize Berhalter knows what he's doing. The results this year have been mixed, but everyone has seen what this team is capable of when it's hitting on all cylinders.
I think fans are frustrated that this team isn't living up to expectations thus far in the season, but believe in what the team is doing.
The absence of midfielder Wil Trapp for 13 games certainly didn't help matters. While Mohammed Saeid did well filling in, that is not his natural position and he isn't as fluid as Trapp. With the 22-year old back in the rotation now, I expect the Black & Gold to begin to play better, especially defensively.
Predicted lineup: I'm taking a bit of a stab in the dark here because you never know how Berhalter will handle busy weeks, so here it goes.
Hector Jimenez-Michael Parkhurst-Tyson Wahl-Waylon Francis
Ethan Finlay-Mohammed Saeid-Tony Tchani-Justin Meram
The players I could see not starting that I listed are Jimenez (dealt with back spasms during the last game and subbed out early), Francis (has played a lot), and Saeid (Trapp played 45 minutes on Saturday so match fitness is getting there). I think Berhalter will give Pogatetz the night off on Wednesday, especially after his poor performance in the last match.
Prediction: I'll go 1-1 between the two teams. Chicago will probably score first because Crew.