Monday, June 29, 2009

6/29/09: Crew vs. Rhinos Preview

Brunner and the Crew defense will have to stop Mauricio Salles and the improved Rochester offense at Marina Auto Stadium on Tuesday night.

Columbus come into this game with 5 wins, 1 loss, and 5 ties in their last 11. Rochester is starting to pick it up as well after a dry spell, with two straight wins against the Cleveland City Stars and away at the Austin Aztex. Rochester also has signed some reinforcements in former LA Galaxy player Ty Harden and forward Warren Ukah, neither played in the Rhinos last win but could get their chance in the Open Cup against the Crew.

Columbus is likely to play reserves against Rochester, or at least more than usual. The Crew's victory against New York puts the side 1 point behind first place DC United, who the Crew will play on Saturday. History dictates that in such a stituation that Warzycha and company will take the more serious approach towards regaining first place in MLS then worrying about the Open Cup. The common thinking is "if the Crew reserves beat Rochester great, and if they don't we can just focus on the two more important competitions," being the run to MLS Cup and the CONCACAF Champions League.

However, other Crew fans would like Warzycha to take a more serious approach to the Lamar Hunt Open Cup then Sigi Schmid ever did. I mean, heck, the Open Cup is named after the man who built Crew Stadium. Also, the Crew would only have to play four more games total if they make it to the final. Winning four games is just about the easiest route to silverware that the Crew will have this year, much easier then MLS Cup, and way easier then winning the Champions League. It would be a good start towards gaining momentum towards those competitions as well.

I think that the Crew should play half starters at least. I would go with the following lineup:

I would start Marshall and Rogers, because why not? They will be off with the USA in Gold Cup action starting Saturday against Grenada. Mise well get the most out of them now. I doubt that is what will happen, but if I was coach I would do it. You won't be getting anything out of them for the next month, so mise well get something out of them now.

Also, Moreno didn't start on Saturday, so I would give him the start on Tuesday. See how he plays against Rochester but start Lenhart next Saturday against D.C. United and then the week afterwards re-evaluate to see which of the two starts against the Chicago Fire. I think Lenhart played well enough against NYRB in his 67 minutes to deserve to share some playing time with Moreno, and this is how you manage a lineup and a team. It's okay to have Moreno start in the Open Cup and have Lenhart take over MLS duty for another week, because at the moment Lenhart isn't much of a drop off.

Another starter I would play is O'Rourke at left back. He has filled in there before and guys like Padula, Hejduk, and Schelotto just shouldn't be playing in this tournament until at least the semifinal because of their age.

I think the lineup above gives the Crew enough to win against Rochester, it's still a very competitive lineup with 6 players that have been starters for most of the season. Along with Zayner and Greunebaum who have been playing alot as well at a high level.

Rochester will probably trot out this lineup:
D BERTZ, Kenney
D BALL, John
M LOREI, Andrew
M NURSE, Chris
F SALLES, Mauricio
F UKAH, Warren

RESULT: Crew win 2-1



  1. Looks like Marshall and Rogers will be on Gold Cup duty and not play tomorrow. Schelotto, Hejduk, and Padula didn't make the trip, per Shawn Mitchell. with 5 regular starters out, it should be an interesting night.

  2. is this match gonna be televised? Ekpo up front could be a great thing to watch.