Monday, March 16, 2009

3/16/09: Ekpo Slated To Start Against Houston, Ekpo's 2009 Comparable To Rogers 2008?

The U-23 Nigerian Ekpo could have a big year for the Crew. Warzycha expects bigger role for Ekpo in 2009.

With Moffat out for now, expect Ekpo to get a chance to shine from the get go for the Crew in 2009. Here's an excerpt from The Sports Network with Warzycha talking about Ekpo. It's a good preview and worth a full read.

"[Ekpo] was with us last year but I am assuming he is going to have a bigger role this year. We are going to try and pencil him into the starting lineup. We have him playing in the middle and out wide and he can do a good job at either spot," Warzycha said.

Figuring from the Houston vs. Atlante game I would put Ekpo on the wing against Houston. I think Houston is going to have a hard time with Ekpo and Rogers combined speed. Houston's defense is the definition of porous with guys like Julius James and Bobby Boswell. The Crew should place Gaven in the middle, place Ekpo against Julius James who didn't look anywhere close to confident in his abilities against Atlante.

After Houston, Ekpo just needs to build on his promising glimpses from 2008 and try to continue to get time on a deep bench. 2008 was promising for Ekpo as he had possibly the best pass and best break away in the 2008 season for the Crew.

His pass on the Rogers goal in the San Jose away game early in the season was a clinical gem at 3:02:

And, Ekpo had glimpses of goal scoring greatness against Colorado at 4:01:

Ekpo has much more raw talent then the average MLS midfielders of his age, or of any age. The Crew just need to get the kid on the field from the start of the whistle and give Ekpo more opportunities to do what Rogers did in 2008. Very similiar stituations between Rogers and Ekpo. Further, Ekpo needs to learn from Schelotto in 2009 just as Rogers learned from the Argentinian maestro in 2008.

Goals for Ekpo: Attempt to have a season on par statistically to Rogers(6 goals, 3 assists) in 2008 or better. Ekpo is capable and is going to be given an opportunity starting March 21st because of Moffat's injury, so if he swims/thrives I think Ekpo has the ability to have an excellent year as a contributor in the Crew midfield.


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