Trivia time: I am a former MAC Hermann Trophy winner as the nation’s top college player. In my rookie season, I led my club in scoring. I have scored against both Aston Villa and West Ham, led my Reserve League squad in scoring, and tallied 3 goals this season (including a brace against then league-leading New England) despite only playing the equivalent of 1 1/3 ‘s matches.
Who am I?
I’m Jason Garey of the Columbus Crew, and I deserve some respect.
The Crew relied mostly on the frontline duo of Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Alejandro Moreno to lead them to their 2008 double, but like any team, they occasionally needed cover for their starters. When they did, Head Coach Sigi Schmid mostly relied on rookie Steven Lenhart, a successful sub who never settled into the role of starter. Lenhart has similar size to Garey, but isn’t blessed with the on-the-ball ability, finishing touch, or aerial ability that Garey has showed flashes of. Production-wise, Lenhart had 4 goals in over two times the minutes that Garey needed to notch 3 scores.
Garey is a goal-scorer, plain and simple. He led the Crew reserves in scoring, scores when he starts in friendlies for Columbus, and chipped in as a sub when he had meaningful minutes. With Houston, Salt Lake, and Toronto all in the market for strikers and teams scaling back in anticipation of economic difficulties, Garey would seem to be a viable option as cheap depth, or even a starting strike partner for Toronto’s Chad Barrett. The Crew have a lack of MLS Superdraft choices, and do not seem to value Garey as much as they did when they made him the third overall choice in 2006, so acquiring him would not be overly complicated. Columbus is also in dire need of center back help if Chad Marshall does not return, and would probably welcome depth at that position in exchange for their fourth-choice striker.
As a three-year veteran and proven scorer and a player who, at 24, is nearing his prime, Garey would be a solid addition to any MLS squad. If he doesn’t change clubs, all indications seem to be that he will mostly be seeing action in Columbus’s Champions League run.