Saturday, November 7, 2009

11/7/09: In Or Out In 2010 (Part 1)- Guillermo, Moreno, and Etc.

Schelotto hopefully in, despite questionable coaching (Pic by: Sam Fahmi).

The Crew bowed out of the playoffs by a 4-2 aggregate this Thursday against Real Salt Lake. The Crew, and especially Guillermo Barros Schelotto, made the game interesting nevertheless through the first 35 minutes, taking a 2-0 lead. The Crew were leading 2-1 on aggregate, before surrending to a late RSL surge and questionable officiating (including an obvious RSL hand ball in the box) to lose the game 3-2.

In any other league the Crew would've been Champions by winning their regular season for the second year in a row. Taking the regular season champion of MLS, as the MLS champion, is the way it should be done if you ask me; as the regular season champion actually exemplifies who is the best over a complete season. Further, in the entire world, MLS is just about the only league that crowns a champion in this fashion. But, hey that is Americans for you- slap on some playoffs to make an extra capitalist buck.

So, instead of playing soccer like the rest of the world. The MLS playoffs gives the champion designation to the winner of a tournament, at the end of the season, which is basically a new season of four games where the hottest team wins. So, the difference between 2008 and 2009 is that, with a lack of congestion, the Crew went into the four game showdown hot in 2008 and because of congestion, fatigue, and some questionable coaching the Crew went into the four game showdown cold in 2009. Sure, MLS can continue to have the playoffs. However, playoff winners should just be called what they are, playoff winners, not MLS champions. And, Warzycha is right, the first round setup of having to go on the road first (letting the road team dictate the tone) is unfair.

Yet, what we have in MLS is what we have. And, excuses after a while are just excuses. Champions still have to find a way, especially at home. The Crew didn't. But, I still find the season successful for the most part. The Crew did win the Supporters Shield for a second consecutive year (a trophy that is harder to win than the MLS Cup in my opinion) and we did advance in CONCACAF. Something that Houston, DC, NYRB, or Toronto could not do.

But, Thursday's collapse was still a tough loss to take and might lead to more of a player exodus than, in contrast, a repeat as MLS playoff champions would have. So, who is in and who is out in 2010?

Guillermo Barros Schelotto: I want him to stay and all Crew fans want him to stay. But, a combination of old age (even though he still has it) and having to prove himself to Warzycha (although it probably should be the other way around) may be enough for the great one to move on.

Guillermo gave Warzycha a "take that, dumbass" by scoring two goals and almost willing the Crew to the Eastern Conference after having to sit the week before. But, Warzycha's mesmorizing tactics are taking credit for Guillermo's two goals.

From Rob Oller's Commentary:
Schelotto admitted that although some players would fume for five minutes, the steam escaped his ears for a full 30. The result was a "prove it to you" attitude that led to his two goals last night.

"Show me that I was wrong," Warzycha said of his ulterior motive toward Schelotto.

I didn't want to comment on this until after Thursday's game, as a wait and see. But, I think in the end you were wrong Warzycha. Because Guillermo doesn't need to sit the bench to get the importance of the playoffs. This guy is a 36 year old with champion DNA, what he does is win Championships wherever he has gone. He gets the importance. He doesn't need some rookie coach with an overcoaching philosophy to prove the importance of a championship to him. So, who knows, Guillermo may have had another two goals in him in Real Salt Lake as well? Guillermo's great performance proves the opposite to me, I believe if Guillermo came out flat in the second leg then there might of been some premise for what Warzycha did.

But, yeah take credit Warzycha. We can't really show that you were wrong, but you can't really show that you were right either.

In the end, you don't sit a MLS MVP with a champion pedigree. I really think there might be more behind this and it might come down to a Schelotto or Warzycha in 2010. Warzycha wasn't sure of Schelotto when the Crew first got him in 2007 (asking Schmid if he was sure of the guy) and that seems to be extending to the present day. Although, Warzycha's other options prove much worse than even a flat Schelotto.

Apparently, McCullers wants Schelotto back though and Schelotto wants to be back according to Mitchell:
Will Schelotto, with no more option years on his contract, be back? We’ll see.

“I can tell you that I want him back,” said McCullers, who met with investor-operators Clark and Dan Hunt for three hours before the game. “He has indicated that he wants to be back.”

Schelotto said the same after the game, his intentions apparently unchanged since he was benched.

“We’ll be talking to him very soon,” McCullers said.

Would the Crew bring him back as its designated player?

“I don’t know,” McCullers said.

I think if it is between Warzycha and Schelotto, you have to go for Schelotto in 2010. Nevertheless, I have a feeling that the Crew might screw up the offseason somehow and this could have been the last time we see Schelotto. Also, Schelotto came over to the Nordecke and shook hands for the first time in the two years of it's existence. That may be a red flag right there that it could be farewell.

Hopefully in, but I'm guessing the Crew will screw it up somehow.

Robert Warzycha: Won the Supporters Shield and got the Crew to the next round of CONCACAF, which probably should be enough to keep his job. Not taking anything away from those two accomplishments. Coaching is a lot harder than it looks and takes a lot of man hours. But, with the same talent, Greg Andrulis or Diego Maradona probably could have at least got this Crew to the playoffs. A monkey could probably get Argentina qualified for the World Cup. A supporter in the Nordecke could probably get this talented Crew side to the playoffs.

Overall, Warzycha may be too much of a player's coach and too concerned with the player's feelings and thus goes for the utilitarian "everyone plays" approach. Further, I do not get why Moreno receives 1,605 regular season, minutes when he could only score 4 goals and those 4 goals came eons ago. In half that time Jason Garey and Steven Lenhart both had 4 and 3 goals.

Also, bringing Garey in for the final leg, although Garey has looked dangerous in about 1 or 2 games this year, instead of bringing in Renteria in Leg 2 is questionable. Actually, playing Moreno is questionable. I would have started Renteria or Lenhart. The only two strikers that we have, who may have a future here. But, Warzycha seems a bit concerned with keeping everyone happy.

Also, questionable is wasting a starting position on Burns down the stretch instead of playing a more talented midfielder. I mean we are looking to go into the playoffs on a hot streak, right? Trying to build some momentum? No way should Burns be on the field before Moffat.

Also, Brunner may have a good future but he is still green. I do not get why we played him at central defender, every game, when he has looked shaky since the beginning of CONCACAF. Why would we supplant O'Rourke from the position he has looked best in, central defender, for a rookie? Further, O'Rourke was questionable at DM, and never gained acceptance from fans until playing center back. You play a backline of Hejduk---Marshall---O'Rourke---Padula because that is your best back four that got us to the final last year. Then you play Carroll as the lone DM. And, you give another spot to an attacking midfielder. Put Moffat or Gaven in central midfield. I don't know why we don't play our best players now, but instead give rookie's like Brunner and Burns more experience down the stretch?

Don't get me wrong, I think Brunner will be an asset down the road, but I don't think he should have gotten as many minutes as he did. No offense to him, but he was responsible for most of the errors on defense down the stretch. And, that's no fault to him, he's a rookie. So, play O'Rourke back there for the important games!

Also, what Schmid did well was get a set lineup. Too much switching going around, might of made us deeper, but led to no fluidity of play at the end of the season.

Finally, I'm not sure if Robert has the passion, doesn't seem passionate. Seems sort of in a daze sometimes on the sideline. Also, not sure if some of Robert's subbing or decisions has any rhyme or reason. Sometimes he gets it right and sometimes he leaves you scratching your head. Seems all like a big game of roulette.

Probably in, but if you can find a better coach or someone who can get a set lineup, play our best players, and not sit Schelotto during the playoffs then out. One year in, I'm not sure if he knows what he is doing or is our long term coach.

Alejandro Moreno: Good guy and a good soldier. But, he is gaining minutes from his work in 2008 instead of his work in the current season. Only scored 4 goals in 1,605 minutes, is getting slower by the game, and has a propensity to dive during great opportunities.

The guy has just outlived his usefulness. Moreno's name and what he has done in 2008 is too much of a draw for Warzycha to sit him on the bench for whatever reason. Rather have the Crew, in a no-option year, let Moreno move on so we can focus on getting a striker that can actually put the ball in the back of the net.

I rather have a striker that scores goals instead of doing some other things well that sometimes lead to midfield goals.


Jason Garey: Can make the argument with his 4 goals in 745 minutes, that if he received the time of Moreno, that Garey may have 8 to 10 goals on the year. And, I was all about keeping him around during the mid-season Bash Brothers days. But, he did receive opportunities in the late Summer and Fall at times and didn't look dangerous in any of his outings. Just think that Lenhart and Renteria are better options. Out of contract, I would let him move on, maybe he will find more minutes with another team.

I just think that Renteria and Lenhart should be our two strikers, along with signing a third that can actually put a fricken ball in a net consistently. The thing we are missing most is a pure goalscorer. Who knows Renteria or Lenhart could be that with time, but neither has had enough of a role to prove that yet. Moreno and Garey have both already received enough time as the Crew's main striker to pass on.


Emilio Renteria

Has already proved to be our only striker who can score outside of 10 yards from the net. Has looked pretty good in every game he has been in, except for his debut against Chicago and his red card in DC. Had a huge goal, that could have meant everything if Saprissa could have beaten Cruz Azul at home in CONCACAF. Should have received more time down the stretch if it wasn't for Warzycha's bi-polar lineup. But, Warzycha will probably take credit for this as a strategy to keep teams away from picking him in the expansion draft. :-)

The guy should have been on the field Thursday before Moreno and Garey. Renteria with Lenhart, our are current best striker options.

How Warzycha fails to see this makes me wonder about him even more.


More in's and out's tomorrow..


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