Wednesday, February 25, 2009

2/26/09: Why The Crew Is Kicking Ass in 2009


I don't get what is up with some of the debbie downers out in Crew land? I'm a firm believer that if you don't have confidence you can't win trophies, you can't get the girl, and you can't get the dream jobs you want (oh and most importantly you can't be the baddest ass supporters group in the land). So, where did all that gushing confidence of 2008 go? And, where did all this "will limp into the playoffs" sissy talk come from?

We are the baddest ass team in the land with the baddest ass supporters in the land. If we don't believe in it, no one else will. So, I present quickly a list why,

The Crew Will Continue To Kick Ass in 2009 (I will work on a more thorough confidence building list over the weekend, but here are some quick thoughts before I get some shut eye to hopefully inspire less pussified talk):

1.) Robert Warzycha is just as good as a coach as Sigi or even an upgrade. Yes, I said it, an upgrade. He knows the ropes plus he is greatly respected by the team. Even more so then Sigi was.

Why is Robert an upgrade?
Robert played in the EPL for Everton (Sigi did not get close to playing professionally).
Robert played at the international level for Poland (Sigi did not play except for at UCLA).
Robert also coached probably the worse team in Crew history to an above .500 record back in 2005 so oh yeah he can do a little coaching.

Playing experience isn't the be all, end all to coaching. But, it helps. Think about it? Who are you likely to learn more soccer from if you were taking a lesson in college? The university's star forward or the math genius in every college club? Sigi is an excellent coach but Warzycha adds a little of what he knows from his playing days and mixes that with what he has learned from being an assistant in his own right along with what he has learned pre- and post- Sigi. Robert has also been around the block and has been in some big games as a player. Could you imagine being relied on day in, day out at Everton or as a International player in demanding Europe? Robert isn't some weakling. Robert can teach by example:


So let's have a little damn faith in the guy. And, let's get over the 300 pound shadow in the room.

2.) The Crew have not been stagnant this offseason. I know re-upping isn't as exciting for some. But, has anyone else in the offseason signed a MLS MVP caliber player in Schelotto and a MVP Defender of The Year caliber player in Chad Marshall? Nope. The Crew got away with a coup by re-signing such huge talent as Schelotto and Marshall.

Rate those signings against other teams this offseason, has anyone been blown away by any other team's new acquisitions? If you have then random ass names must excite you a lot more then they excite me. Has anyone heard of players like Hirsig, Vitti, or Aki Riihilahti before they signed in the offseason? Other teams are making improvements, sure. But, will these new players mesh with their new MLS teammates overnight? No. Is it a guarentee that they will be positive contributions? No. Gallardo anyone? The Crew can stand pat because they already have a pretty damn awesome team and they are not going to get better by splitting this group up. The Crew is a solid first place club. Name me the team that has the better chance in 2009 of winning the shield and the cup? I'm waiting?

I know it would be foolish to say other teams don't have a shot. But, with all variables thrown in, I think a team like the Crew has a much better chance then the other MLS quality sides like Houston, New England, or Chicago of winning it all. For those aforementioned clubs more variables are up in the air and more has to go right to win it all. The Crew on the other hand are a well oiled machine that just has to keep their confidence and belief in themselves up. They are the same cast albeit more improved with their experience.

3.) Players will step up if we have an injury or two:
-----------Moreno--------------
-----------Schelotto-----------
Rogers-----Ekpo/Moffat-----Gaven
-----------Carroll-------------
Padula-Marshall-O'Rourke-Hejduk
-----------Hesmer--------------

If Moreno goes down for a little we have Lenhart, Noonan, and Garey.
If we have an injury in midfield we have Ekpo, Moffat, Noonan, Nyazamba, etc. to work with.
If we have an injury in defense we basically slot O'Rourke out wide and place Iro in the middle.

The Crew needs to stay healthy. But, as evidenced by losing Padula for about half of 2008. They can survive, adapt, and still be overwhelmingly successful.

4.) The Crew will overcome and take on the challenge of CONCACAF, not shrink in the face of it. The Crew are a strong, confident team and they will take on the challenge of a couple more games. They won't see it as a detriment like New England did in 2008. This is a strong team that will be ready for battle.

5.) So have faith. Confidence is a big part of winning. And, confidence especially at home not only on the field but in the stands helps to keep that home field advantage that we had in 2008.

So, when people ask what you expect of the Crew in 2009? Don't say "oh golly gee, I sure hope we can make the playoffs." What the hell is that? Say "we are going to win the Supporters Shield and MLS Cup again." Say "we are going to give our best in the Open Cup and CONCACAF because we are the best MLS team with the most likely chance to succeed". Say "we are going to be the best supporters group in 2009 and even turn more heads and recruit more people in support of the almighty black and gold." If our hearts are into it and if we have confidence we can still do anything.

There was just a feeling that we couldn't be stopped in 2008. In my opinion, we are not the same, but an improved cast in 2009 with more experience on and off the field. So, let's continue to have that confident winning attitude in 2009.

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