OBETZ, Ohio – Create a bunch of opportunities? Sure, the Columbus Crew do that just fine. Finish them?
That’s a different story.
On Tuesday, head coach Robert Warzycha spent a good portion of training trying to find a solution to that second bit.
“We're working on the first touch and turning on the ball because if you're good at that, it gives you more time to look at the goal,” Warzycha said. “We also have to make better decisions around the goal. Sometimes we're taking shots from difficult angles instead of playing somebody in front of goal.”
Forward Federico Higuaín is tied with San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski for the most shots (57) in the league and is sixth in shots on goal (21). But he’s scored just once from the run of play – way back on March 2 against Chivas USA – with his other four goals coming from converted penalties (he’s 4 for 5).
“He's a set-up guy,” Warzycha said. “He's going to occasionally score. The good thing for us is he's very dangerous on set pieces and he's taking the penalty kicks, which is not that easy.”
With last year's top scorers Eddie Gaven and Jairo Arrieta (nine each) combining for one goal this season, the Crew have struggled. Gaven suffered a season-ending knee injury on May 29 and Arrieta's goal came in the second game at Vancouver on March 9. He’s also missed time via injury and international duty.
In their absence, Dominic Oduro has picked up some of the slack with seven goals. Others have not.
“We're banking off Oduro to pull something magical,” reserve attacker Justin Meram said. “Our quality of passing in the midfield is great but we have to go somewhere with it.”
Oduro remains confident the goals will come.
“We'd be more worried if we weren't creating chances,” he said. “All we have to do is hit it on target and the rest will happen.”