Thursday, March 25, 2010

3/25/2010: The Tale Of Two Teams- Crew vs. TFC Preview


TFC may give a good battle, but there is one trophy that the Crew will be certainly hoisting this 2010 season.

One team has a full roster where every spot on the field is deep with reserves who can step up and get the job done. That team comes into this game as two-time Supporters Shield winners (awarded to the team with the best record at the end of the season) and has won the MLS Cup the season before last. This team also was a ball bounce or two away from beating Toluca, a top Mexican side, in the CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals. In the midfield alone, a top American prospect with an expectant future, Dilly Duka, finds himself at the back of the midfield depth chart that includes Schelotto, Gaven, Rogers, Ekpo, Moffat, Carroll, and even Renteria. For the other team, Duka would probably be starting somewhere in the midfield on Saturday.

For the other team things in the offseason have been really bad. As this other team seems to be actually regressing in their fourth season compared to their second and third years in the league. How bad? Their forward Ali Gerba is taking legal action to get out of his contract but their coach has said the mediumly expensive forward is not in their plans anyways. If Gerba goes elsewhere in MLS (although no one probably felt he was worth anything in the first place except this team), this team will still have to pay most of his salary. Just like they're paying most of Carl Robinson's salary so that the Welsh international can command the New York Red Bulls midfield. This team has also been rumoured to have owners, coaches, and players scraping off the field. As a result of all the turmoil and players not in the coaches plans, it's been a clearinghouse in recent weeks. As Adrian Serioux is now in Houston and starting right back Marvell Wynne was dealt to Colorado for virtually nothing in return two days before the opener.

Rebuilding Year For TFC?

Starting right back Marvell Wynne was traded for Colorado Rapids youngster Nick LaBrocca while backup keeper Brian Edwards was waived. As apparently with only 18 players on the total roster TFC still does not have enough cap space to sign other players. TFC is likely making room to sign Canadian player Adrian Cann and Argentinian player of Croatian descent, Martin Saric. Another sign of a team in flux compared to the first team mentioned, Columbus, is that if Cann and Saric are signed they would be expected to start right away for TFC. Sure they have been with the team all preseason but compare that to a Crew signing who has been in camp all preseason; As the Crew's new Colombian striker Sergio Herrera with nearly 20 goals in the Colombian First Division last year has to wait for his shot, just like everyone else. And he has a much more impressive pedigree compared to TFC's Cann and Saric.

Rebuilding year or not, it's been a rebuilding offseason for TFC. No one can deny that Preki has made his mark, he has gutted at least half of the entire starting lineup from last season. And, I'm not sure if they have enough time to come together and turn this new group into a Playoff side.

Columbus Looking Stronger Than Ever

Coming into this season the Crew's only notable loss was Alejandro Moreno (which wasn't too huge of a loss based on his form of only four goals last season). The Crew replaced him with Sergio Herrera and Emilio Renteria, with Emilio showing great form against Toluca. Combine that with Steven Lenhart's performance in the first Toluca game, which was hopefully a glimpse of what is to come this season, and the front line looks dramatically improved. Other than the signing of Colombian Sergio Herrera and the acquistion of the young, talented midfielder Dilly Duka the Crew brings back entirely the same team from last year. What makes them better though is that young players like Ekpo, Renteria, Gaven, Rogers, Lenhart, Garey, and Zayner now have another year under their belts and should continue to progress and get better instead of worse.

My Crew Lineup

--------------Hesmer----------------
Hejduk----Brunner--O'Rourke---Padula
--------------Carroll---------------
Renteria-------Gaven------------Ekpo
--------------Schelotto-------------
---------------Lenhart--------------

Or

--------------Hesmer----------------
Hejduk----Brunner---O'Rourke--Padula
--------------Carroll---------------
Gaven----------Moffat----------Rogers
---------Schelotto------------------
--------------------Herrera---------

TFC's Lineup: No backup goalkeeper with Edwards waived, but apparently Conway or someone will be there as an emergency backup. And, I just saw that Cann is also no longer on trial, I wrote that first part earlier in the day. The Toronto FC lineup changes by the minute.

------------Frei
-Attakora-Harden-Garcia-Brennan
-----------Sanyang------------
-----Cronin-de Guzman-Gala
--------White-DeRosario

Subs
Herold
Ibrahim
LaBrocca
Saric?
Conway?

TFC currently has 15 healthy signed players on their roster.

Prediction: The Crew are just way too good and way too deep at every position to lose to the patchwork unit that TFC is putting out, as other then De Rosario (who isn't the same De Ro) and de Guzman, they really don't have many players who have proved themselves yet in MLS. Even though the moves Preki is making may pay off in the future, at the moment there is just way too much uncertainty in their camp. So, this one is going to be a blowout in every sense of the word.

Columbus 4, TFC 0. Goals by Lenhart (7th), Lenhart (21st), Guillermo (51st), and Renteria (88th)

1 comment:

  1. I have to say it. I feel bad for Frei. He's a great, young talent on a bad team. He deserves butter too. haha.

    ReplyDelete