Covid blow for Columbus Crew but we’ve been doing the things we’ve never done all season

If you haven’t already heard of it, there is a term well known to bookmakers which is “implied probability”.

In America the odds of Columbus Crew winning the MLS Cup before a ball was kicked was +4000 which equates to 40/1 in our money.

This is to say in America if you placed $100 on the Crew, you would get $4000 back and in England if you placed £10 (as I did) you would get £400 back plus your stake, so £410.

Before this is able to happen, someone within the company attaches the value of implied probability. The implied probability is far too complex to state how it is worked out and is not an exact science, however, it is worth noting that the implied probability of Columbus Crew winning the MLS Cup was 2.4%

For the Crew to even be in the final is an amazing achievement and when you couple this with where we were two years ago fighting for the right to save the Crew, it’s’ all but miraculous.

What the Haslems, Dr Pete Edwards and all those involved in the Save The Crew movement have done is above and beyond what we could have expected or dreamed of, let’s get that clear right away.

We not only saved our precious black and gold, we gave it the promising future it never had but always deserved. American’s founding member, number 01, home to the most important stadium in American soccer not just MLS.

This morning I woke up early, 5am. I don’t usually wake up at this time, perhaps I sensed a disturbance in the force?

As always, I took to my regular websites to get the news of the day, which now includes the Columbus Dispatch.

There it was, Darlington Nagbe and Pedro Santos out for the MLS Cup final. Ouch. I was gutted. I couldn’t help but think how 2020 continues to just take, take, take.

The most important implication here of course is that Nagbe and Santos are okay and recover from their illness and to that end I send nothing but my heartfelt best wishes to them.

As Queen said though, the show must go on. So how does it go on? Well in terms of MLS, the way it has all season. I’m not a virologist or qualified in any way, other than in basic infection control as a former Health Care Assistant, to speak about how that should happen. I will leave that to those far more qualified.

I’m also even less qualified to talk about soccer ironically but as my opinions don’t affect people’s health, livelihood and general well being, I will continue.

What silver lining can I possibly find from Columbus Crew losing in my opinion their best player (Darlington Nagbe) and one of their most potent attacking threats (Pedro Santos)?

It’s tough. If Porter is the coach I think he is, he’s planned for this kind of setback but that still doesn’t take away from the specific work he will have done in the lead up to the game.

Let’s be realistic and look at the negative first. Seattle are a team that like to press high up the pitch, the attempt to control the game in your half and having arguably the best player at beating this type of press out of the starting 11 does not bode well.

That’s the worst of it in my opinion.

The potentially good news is that every player in black and gold should understand their importance even more than they did. They should know that they will have to be more mentally aware and give more of themselves physically and their importance is even greater without two of our most influential players on the pitch.

Don’t undersestimate what this can do for a player in terms of mental strength and how that can translate to a solid defensive performance.

Another reason this doesn’t bother me quite so much as it may have is, it doesn’t change our approach to the game. Against teams like this, our best bet is to be solid with men behind the ball and counter attack. It fits our personnel.

We have strong, intelligent defenders who are positionally sound and rarely make big mistakes. As a team as a whole we are defensively aware and work as hard as anyone in the league.

From an attacking point of view, we are built for the counter attack, especially with players like Etienne Jr who I believe could be the difference maker if this plays out in our favour.

Even in games where we’ve played poorly this season, we’ve found a way to win and recently especially his pace, willingness to run at people and crossing ability has been invaluable.

Seattle will go into this game as favourites and rightly so with this latest development. Also, they have been here and done it multiple times in recent years and are the champions for a reason.

Their opposition though, the team that will walk out at Mapfre, the fans in the stands, tell them something can’t be done. Tell them they have a 2% chance, hell tell them they have less than that and all you will do is strengthen their resolve.

I’ve been lucky enough to support Columbus Crew for two years now, this is my third season to have that privelege. The biggest things I’ve learned in that time are, everyone is welcome at Columbus Crew and “impossible” is not a word in their vocabulary.

Tell us something is impossible and we will tell you, not for our Crew.

See you Saturday, Seattle.

*Plays Africa by Toto*

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