No smiles in Columbus as of late. Is it selection? Team problems?
The Columbus Crew have dropped their last two league games by a combined score of 7-1. Ouch! We are like Blackpool vs. Chelsea or Arsenal when we face off against a Western Conference team. In the process of getting demolished in the last two league games, the Crew have nearly knocked themselves out of the Supporters Shield race after battling so hard to get back into it; as the Crew find themselves six points adrift of LA, after being tied with them last week, and 3 points behind RSL without a hope of catching either at their current form. Moreover, the 4-nil shelling at the hands of Seattle and Sigi Schmid on Saturday makes it look like Columbus doesn't have a hope in matching up with any Western Conference side in the playoffs. Further, that meet up against Seattle again in the U.S. Open Cup Final in October doesn't look as appealing hardware-wise as it once did.
All of this leads to a question that has started to float around like a stench that no one wants to take credit for after our last two shellings against RSL and LA; A question that finally needs to be answered with some moves after Saturday night's embarrassment in front of 17,144, one of the better crowds of the year for the Crew. Namely, What the hell is going on?
Actually I have quite a few questions...
1. Why on earth is Warzycha continuing to start players that never perform over players that consistently perform? Leandre Griffit scored a beautiful goal against Joe Public on Wednesday night. Griffit looks lively every time he is on the field and has scored twice in four overall appearances in all competitions for the Crew. Griffit brings a talent and a confidence that comes with time in the English Premiership that other midfielders on the Crew, except for possibly Gaven, appear to not have. Yet how does Warzycha celebrate Griffit's brillant play on Wednesday night; Well, if you guessed by leaving him completely off the 18 man roster? Your shockingly right.
Andres Mendoza has been with the Crew for nearly two months practicing with the squad as he worked out his visa issues; By the time he was cleared by FIFA everyone expected Mendoza to be game fit and ready to take over at striker. But, despite scoring in the few minutes he was in against L.A. and despite looking very good against Joe Public last Wednesday, Mendoza got 16 junk minutes this weekend against Seattle while the inconsistent Garey and Lenhart continue to start. Sorry, Robert, but Garey and Lenhart are nowhere near Mendoza or Renteria's level and shouldn't be starting over them in the league.
Garey and Lenhart are good players and have a role off the bench that can lead to goals at the end of games. But, neither one played in Mexico, France, Belgium, Ukraine and neither might just end up being a nation's top striker in qualifying for World Cup 2014 (Renteria has a chance for Venezuela); I don't think either of those two things are in the cards for either one of our strikers not from South America.
But, I know, I know, that the Crew have this high esteem for themselves where it takes any new signing two years to get into the starting eleven (just look at Renteria who performs better than nearly everyone on the team and continues to sit on the bench); But, at some damn time they need to get over themselves and inject the better players in there right away to inject some life into a dead squad, a dead attack, and a dead midfield.
Griffit should get a chance on the left flank but despite solid play, Rogers who has been out of comission for two months has a better chance of seeing league time first for whatever reason. Renteria and Mendoza should be prefered over Lenhart and Garey, it's a crime that Renteria scores every two games and can't find a spot on this starting eleven.
2. Duka is better than Moffat and Burns; Or hell can't be worse- Our team overall is more defensive and slower than it has to be. Heck, even with two dm's and four defenders, and midfielders that like to track back we still lose 4-nil. Well, Duka is a midfielder who can play both and he is actually a high talent in the U.S. system... Something Burns or Moffat will never claim for any nation except maybe Bermuda. So, why the hell wouldn't you give Duka a shot if the other players you run out underperform consistently. At the moment we have no one creative to pair with Schelotto in our midfield and Duka has looked like a breath of fresh air every time he comes on. Further, every time I see Duka and Schelotto together they seem to be very similiar players and find each other well.
With Carroll and Moffat or Burns the midfield transition is too slow and unless the ball gets to Schelotto there is no one finding those creative players with Moffat or Burns passing the ball around.
1+2= gets us to 3. There may be a reason why we look so much better in the CONCACAF Champions League than we have in league play recently- And no it's not because Joe Public and Municipal are vastly inferior.. We have even looked better against Santos. Were just more creative with that lineup, more interesting to watch, and create better opportunities because there is better, more creative players on the field.
Think of it this way, our league play starting eleven plays like Blackpool (a team of overachievers who can play well against a decent team but get shelled against any club with real talent) and our Champions League starting eleven looks like Arsenal (a team with fresh ideas and fresh players that are quicker and more technically adept who eventually find a way to exploit an inferior or even good team).
4. Who does Warzycha blame when things go wrong? The subpar players he surrounds Schelotto with in league play or Schelotto? Schelotto. The only talent sometimes in the attack for the Crew midfield in recent weeks in league play. According to TheCrew.com, Warzycha said the following about Schelotto, “If he plays well, I don’t have a problem putting him on the field," Warzycha said. "But for some reason he can’t find the game right now."
Maybe it isn't Schelotto and maybe it has more to do with the players surrounding him like Burns, Moffat, Lenhart, and a tired Gaven. No wonder there isn't much offensive punch.
5. So is the Crew going to two actual strikers up top? From the same article: “I would look for more power in front,” Warzycha said. “Obviously, with Steven [Lenhart] and Guillermo, the last game I don’t think we had enough. Maybe we’ll go with a little bit of speed up front [against Santos],” Warzycha said.
I'm not cool with blaming Schelotto..I think it has more to do with what he has been surrounded with. And, I wish there was a way to get him, Mendoza, and Renteria on the field at all times together. But, if the only alternative for right now is to give Schelotto some rest and try Renteria and Mendoza up top together this may just save our season... Especially, if you can find some way to have enough defense in the back while having Renteria and Mendoza up top with Schelotto somewhere behind.
Warzycha needs to admit his mistakes now before it bombs our season. Warzycha needs to give Mendoza and Renteria a shot up top together. I think there are a boatload of goals possible with that combination..
In comparison, I don't see no goals if Guillermo has only Garey or Lenhart to combine with. Just in that stituation, Lenhart or Garey are on their own little island and Guillermo is on his own 10-15 yards behind them and neither has the ability to combine with the other effectively alone.
On the other hand, Mendoza and Renteria can be a poweful combination. So, I hope that's what Warzycha means by more power and speed.. And he's not thinking of Garey who doesn't have a lot of either of those capabilities.. But, who knows with Warzycha these days..
Feels like somewhere he lost the script and that he should start listening to Bliss a little bit more who has brought in the right talent in Griffit, Mendoza, and Renteria; and who has done a wonderful job at winning two championships already for the Crew at the youth level this year.
Warzycha admires the hard working player that overachieves.. It's an Eastern European trait that's admirable and it's also the Columbus Crew's motto. Every player the Crew has on the roster has a role and all have talent.. But, heaven forbid we start our best talent once in a while.
Here, I'll spell it out for you--
Hejduk----Marshall--O'Rourke---Padula(when back to health and no you don't have to always start Iro)
Gaven/Renteria--Duka/Gaven--Griffit/Rogers (Ekpo first off bench left or right mid)
But, what should you expect? THE SAME LINEUPS, THE SAME FAILINGS IN THE PLAYOFFS AS LAST YEAR Especially when the Crew organization feeds us crap like this right after an embarrassing 4-nil loss: Crew result not indicative of performance- Despite a 4-0 loss to Seattle, Columbus sees positives in game.
REALLY? REALLY! FYI Crew, A 4-0 loss is always an awful performance. There is no excuse for that if you want to wear the Crew jersey.