Tag Archives: Columbus Crew

Week 3 Power Rankings: Power Shifts West

Week 3 Power Rankings:

1. Seattle (3-0-0)- The Sounders continue to roll on the road at hostile BMO Field, even without wunderkind Fredy Montero.  As Freddie Ljungberg returns to form, this team could get even more dangerous.  The only question is whether they have the defensive depth to weather injuries.

2. Chivas USA (3-0-0)- The Goats are somehow managing to win games with an injury list that looks like a starting lineup.  They didn’t look overpowering against Columbus, but winning 3 of 3 is impressive for this league. Perhaps most importantly, they managed to score with Kljestan effectively taken out of the game.

3. Chicago (2-0-1)- As usual, the Fire are the early season class of the East.  Winning a 10-on-11 contest shows that this team has the resilience that last year’s lacked.  There is impressive offensive depth, with Rolfe and Blanco on the bench, but can the defense hold up over the course of the season?

4. New England (2-0-1)- Nipping at the heels of Chicago in the East.  Having to come from behind at home to beat Dallas is worrying, but you can’t argue with the results.  The next contests (DC and RSL) will be better tests of what this team can do.

5. Colorado (2-1-0)- So they can beat LA and Kansas City.  The big test for them will be at Columbus next week.  The Crew will be at home and fighting desperately to regain a shred of respect.  Colorado’s road win over LA was impressive, but most teams won’t give up the easy goals that the Rapids managed to poach.

6. Real Salt Lake (1-1-0)- Two ends of the spectrum from RSL.  Will this be like last season where they dominate at home and flounder on the road?  Benefited from some huge errors by Columbus, but still managed to beat the defending champs 4-1 (does that mean anything right now, though?).  Can Findley and Movsisyan keep it up?

7. Toronto FC (1-1-1)- Showed some flashes in the windy home loss to Seattle.  When will TFC find a consistent goal-scoring threat?  If the Reds can’t beat Dallas next week, John Carver will be in hot water up north.

8. DC United (1-0-2)- Less than impressive in a game where they had a man advantage at home against Houston.  Couldn’t create very much on offense until the end.  Circle the Eagles’ tie with RSL next week as the most potentially enlightening game of the week, as both are in a good position in the standings.

9. Kansas City (1-2-0)- Maybe the Wizards found the right defensive combination against San Jose?  2-0 over the Quakes is impressive, but they’re still one of the worst defensive teams in the East.  Can they be the first to keep Seattle out of the W column next week?

10. San Jose (1-2-0)- How can they score so little when they have so many experienced playmakers?  The Quakes can redeem an ugly road loss to KC at home against Chicago next week.  Paging Bobby Convey.

11. Houston (0-2-1)- The class of the winless ranks of MLS.  There’s plenty of fight in this team, they just haven’t been getting the bounces thus far.  The Dynamo no longer have a consistent midfield presence with D-Ro gone.  Cameron and Mullan are good at times, but neither is much of a revelation.

12. Columbus (0-2-2)- Showed some fight with 10 men against Chivas, but the injuries are mounting and this team doesn’t have the same confidence that it did last year.  Could Sigi Schmid have been the difference maker?  Even Guillermo Barros Schelotto looks off.  A home win against Colorado would be huge next week.

13. Los Angeles (0-1-1)- The talent is there, but it is horribly inconsistent.  Omar Gonzalez’s roller coaster performance perfectly exemplify this.  Can a 35 year-old 2.Bundesliga defender really improve the backline?  Does anyone really miss David Beckham?

14. New York (0-1-2)- The only consolation for The Red Bulls is that they aren’t the worst team in MLS.  However, Houston would seem to be ripe for a road upset.

15. FC Dallas (0-0-3)- There is no consolation for Dallas.  They let a 1-0 lead slip away at New England and now have to travel to Toronto.  Off-season improvements look like a waste at this point.

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Columbus 1-Real Salt lake 4

RSL took it to a banged up and shorthanded Columbus squad last night, mostly behind F Robbie Findley’s hat trick (the first in RSL history).  Both teams were missing some internationals, but the weather, fatigue, and lingerging injuries (M Robbie Rogers, F Guillermo Barros Schelotto) did the defending champs in.  Crew fans should find some consolation in the team’s first two performances; the team on the field at the Rio Tinto was vastly different from the one that threw away a win against TFC in Columbus.  The Crew’s defense looked sluggish and RSL’s athletic forwards, Findley and Yura Movsisyan were able to take advantage of that.  The disconnect between Schelotto, Rogers, and F Jason Garey further propounded Columbus’s problems, as they were unable to create anything in the box.  It’s clear that the Crew missed Hejduk, Moreno, and a healthy Rogers.  On a night when even Chad Marshall looked suspect, the Crew were never going to come away victorious.

Crew Player Ratings:

GK Will Hesmer 5: The first two goals were entirely Hesmer’s fault.  He wasn’t able to hang onto a free kick and his poor kicking continues to haunt the Crew after kicking one right to Robbie Findley, giving him an easy 1-on-1

D Gino Padula 7: Padula continues to look more and more comfortable in MLS.  His offensive support is minimal, but he is solid at the back and last night’s effort was no different.

D Danny O’Rourke 5: Often tries to rely on his pace to beat forwards one-on-one, but showed once again that he doesn’t have the ability to outfox more athletic attackers.  Looked overmatched all night.

D Chad Marshall 6.5: Made several important tackles, but also had a few slip-ups.  Never made any impact on the Crew’s numerous set pieces.

D Jed Zayner 6: Another marginal performance from a marginal player.  I’m surprised RSL didn’t attack him more, he never does anything too spectacular at the back, but he did what he had to do.  Doesn’t add anything to the attack from the fullback position because his delivery into the box in marginal.

M Brian Carroll 6.5: Was able to keep RSL’s playmaking M Javier Morales out of the game.  On the other hand, he looked downright uncomfortable with the ball at his feet.

M Robbie Rogers 5.5: Did not contribute much.  It’s clear that his injury is still bothering him.  He didn’t look confident on the ball and his delivery was poor.

M Emmanuel Ekpo 6: Had a few positive plays on offense, but looked overmatched by RSL’s physical defense.  Doesn’t often get a chance to use his pace in the middle of the field, and his one-on-one efforts are nullified by being surrounded by defenders.

M Eddie Gaven 6: Was one of the lone bright spots on offense for the Crew.  Made good runs and used his speed, but was single-handedly responsible for an RSL goal when he whiffed on a corner.

F Guillermo Barros Schelotto 6: Kept at bay by RSL.  Made some good passes, as well as some foolish ones.  Probably hampered by the injury he picked up last week.

F Jason Garey 6.5: Notched the lone Crew goal and worked hard all night.  Couldn’t capitalize on a few chances.

Subs

F Alejandro Moreno 5.5: Clearly tired from traveling 12,000 miles.  Had little impact.

F Steven Lenhart 5: Continues to be unimpressive.  Made from the hard-working Moreno mold with less strength and skill.

Surprise! Warzycha Named Columbus Head Coach

As presumedby IFK last week, the Columbus Crew announced the promotion of Assistant Coach Robert Warzycha (pictured left wearing one of the ugliest MLS shirts ever) to the Head Coach position after Sigi Schmid’s alliteration-perfecting move to the Seattle Sounders.  Warzycha brings several years of experience as both a player and coach in Columbus, along with stability carrying over from the Schmid years and lessons learned during the latter years of Greg Andrulis’s somewhat disastrous tenure.

This can be nothing but good news for Columbus fans, as the official announcement means the Crew can get on with their offseason roster finagling.

Boswell Sure to be Hot Commodity

2006 Cosmo Mr. Bachelor Virginia and occasional central defender Bobby Boswell will be a hot commodity this winter…for employers.  Boswell led the backline for Houston last season, but he is out of contract and with all of the league’s frontrunners in need of central defenders–Columbus, New England, Chicago, Chivas USA, and even Los Angeles all have holes to fill there–Boswell can basically go anywhere he wants.

He may have to fight for a spot in Columbus, as two of the three players the Crew rotated in that spot are definitely returning, with Chad Marshall the wildcard.  If Marshall resigns with the Canaries instead of heading for Europe, Boswell would have to look elsewhere.

In Chicago he would be playing in front of MLS Keeper of the Year Jon Busch, but would be stepping into a defensive unit that will suffer a few losses this offseason, and thus a hit to their chemistry.

New England lost Michael Parkhurst to Europe, but Boswell could team with Costa Rican import Gabriel Badilla to form a solid central duo in Boston.

Chivas USA would probably love to add Boswell to complement Shavar Thomas, but Thomas is not nearly the potential partner that Badilla would be and playing for Chivas may just be the least rewarding experience in the league.

Los Angeles is always in need of defenders and may be too much of a landmine to step into (the Galaxy probably don’t have the money to spend anyway), but Boswell would be on the league’s highest-profile team and having both Boswell and Franklin in defense could be the stabilizing force LA needs.

In the end, Boswell’s best option might be staying in Houston.  If the Dynamo can reload up front, they may have just as good a chance as anyone in the league of holding the 2009 MLS Cup after not making it to the finals for the first time in three years in 2008.

Regardless of where he goes, what will Boswell’s new team be getting?  According to Cosmo magazine:

“I am optimistic, work well under pressure, and am goofy.”

What does Boswell look for in a partner?:

“Confidence and enthusiasm are big for me. I like girls [or teams] who challenge themselves.”

The man has spoken MLS, now go show him what you’ve got.

Garey Should Be Wanted Man This Off-Season

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.

Will He Stay or Will He Go Now?

chad-marshall2008 MLS Defender of the Year Chad Marshall is out of contract with Columbus and hunting around Europe for options to make a career move.  His first stab, however, seemed a little ambitious, as he went on trial with German second-tier front-runner Mainz 05.  According to a soccer365.com report, Marshall will most likely be riding the pine if he accepts any offer from the German club, not exactly a career-making move for the 24 year-old.

Marshall’s status is probably affected by both his history with concussions and the fact that he has not played with the US National Team since 2005.  Marshall has had several concussions over the course of career, meaning any more may put him at risk for permanent damage.  However, he was clearly the dominant force in the Crew’s double-winning 2008 backline, and is probably deserving of a chance at the USMNT, given the right opportunity.

The league would probably benefit from Marshall resigning with an MLS team.  Columbus has previously stated that they wanted to write up a new contract after his old one expired, but could not do so because of a lack of allocation money.  After receiving an undisclosed amount from Seattle for releasing Manager Sigi Schmid, Columbus may be able to pony up the cash necessary to keep their defensive star in the capital city.  If not, the Crew will be looking at a drastically thinned center with Danny O’Rourke and Andy Iro, and little depth with any significant experience.  Their lack of a first-round Superdraft choice hampers their ability to bring in cheap, quality depth (as does their spotty drafting record).

Philadelphia MLS Name

Over at goal.com, Shane Evans has a good article on the naming of Philadelphia’s new MLS team.  Overall, I agree with his opinion that MLS names need to reflect the simple majesty of club names worldwide (Manchester United, Real Madrid), rather than being used as marketing tools as they are in the US.  The Columbus Crew are an example of a team who try to milk their name for all it’s worth as a marketing tool, constantly referring to themselves as “America’s hardest working team”.  That may have been an acceptable consolation when Columbus was miserable, but Columbus Crew still feels a bit forced, especially when combined with the men-in-hard-hats logo. 

As a name, however, Crew could be an acceptable nickname like the ones that organically occur in other countries (such as the Canaries of Norwich or reffering to Wolverhampton Wanderers FC simply as ‘Wolves’).  The same cannot be said of the New England Revolution, LA Galaxy, or Colorado Rapids.  No one would ever casually refer to LA as the ‘Galaxy’ in such a way that it would gradually catch on as a nickname.  That is how most college nicknames developed, and that is how club names should come about: organically, rather than artificially.