Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Five Spot Takers (Thursday, July 10th)



1. Columbus won't be getting a Deco, but do they have any new signings in mind in a pivotal July?

Nearly a month ago, there was a suspiciously, delicious rumor that ex-Barca player Deco was making the move to the Columbus Crew. Crew GM Mark McCullers put that baby to bed by emphatically stating the Crew had no talks with Deco, and McCullers "isn't interested in Deco this transfer window."

Likely the ex- Porto, Barcelona, and Chelsea player would share the same feelings. Plus, I don't think Deco's girlfriend would want to be modeling in Central Ohio.

Yet, Deco aside, the Major League Soccer transfer window runs from June 27th to July 27th. That gives the Columbus Crew 17 days to transfer in players. 

We've heard absolutely zero rumors on the transfer front, and I've looked on Google Chile, Argentina, Poland, Italy, England. There is nothing going on.

For unsigned players and MLS trades we have until the roster freeze date of September 15th.

But, July is where things start to happen for MLS clubs. Fans start hearing rumors, trades happen, overseas signings happen, and either you put yourself in a good position or start joining D.C. United and Toronto FC in the basement. 

So, will the Crew make any pivotal moves in July?


The Spot Kick: Will the Crew make new signings in July? It's off the top of the cross bar and in. The Crew will make a move but it won't be a big move, like Deco, or something that will likely blow fans away. 

McCullers hinted the Crew are always looking to improve the team, always have their "ear to the ground." But, I think there looking closer to home.

So, I see the Crew making a trade or two in MLS, hopefully that work out as well as Dominic Oduro. The player will likely be someone that Brian Bliss and company think can do a job for Columbus, but yet might not be getting full playing time at another MLS club. 

Further, Columbus will rely on players like Wil Trapp, Bernardo Anor, and Matias Sanchez to step to the fore front as well. There capable of filling a void too.

Crew fans (on Sunday's match against Portland Timbers) put a Robert Warzycha pink slip in the hands of a Guillermo Barros Schelotto life size cut out. All section banners were upside down as a sign of distress as well.


2. Should Crew fans stop with the "Fire Warzycha" protests?


Since the New Year, there has been 1,477 posts on a Bigsoccer.com "Fire Warzycha, 2013 Edition" thread. I believe there was a 2010, 2011, and 2012 version as well. It's like a Harry Potter series at this point.

In Ex-Arsenal Paul Merson's book, "How Not To Be A Professional Footballer," he said a "manager and a player always know when the writing is on the wall for a manager" and that's when fans start chanting and putting up signs. 

Except if your Steve Kean at Blackburn, then you can take a team down no matter how many signs. 

But, anyway, are the "Fire Warzycha" protests pointless? Yes.

Some have been complaining about Warzycha's management for a long time. Those people should make a shirt that says "complaining about Warzycha since 2010." But, the writing has never been on the wall. GM McCullers has always given Warzycha his "vote of confidence" and the owners are focused on the NFL Chiefs. 

Further, have Columbus ever been a completely results based organization under Hunt Sports Group? Hmm, don't know about that.

And, are the "Fire Warzycha" protests unnecessary at this point in the season? Yes, and here's why.

It would make more sense if we were not in July and 3 points out of the playoffs. Where do Crew fans expect this small market team to be at this point? Did you really expect us to run away with the league, with or without the roster we had on opening day?

At this point in the season, degrading the coach is more hurtful than helpful. 

Just look at Mexico, do you think booing de la Torre and throwing bags of water at him, for nearly a meaningless game against Panama (they still play Canada and Martinque), is going to help them win the Gold Cup? Is a poisonous atmosphere at Estadio Azteca going to help Mexico win the World Cup? 

At some point it just gets annoying, the soccer world gets it Mexico. You don't like how Mexico is playing, shocker. 

Further, I bet at this point Warzycha is immune to this sort of thing. But, the thing is there isn't going to be any changes when were still in the playoff hunt mid-season. So, it's stupid.

Plus, Warzycha, is a former player and has been with the organization forever. 

So, why don't the fans get behind this man that has dedicated so much time at the club. At least for the rest of this season?

Either, he figures it out this year and gets us into and deeper in the playoffs. 
Or, we miss the playoffs, end the season at the bottom with D.C. United, or bow out of the playoffs in the first round again.

If the second couple of scenarios occur, he's either going to leave or McCullers will be forced to go in another direction. 

But, it's better at this time not to stop something in motion, and instead see where it goes. 

Crew fans would be better off supporting the club and the club's manager for the rest of this season.



The Spot Kick: Should Crew fans stop protesting? Yes, the rifle scores. Turn your banners the right way and get behind the gaffer.


3. The Crew will be able to survive offensively, without Arrieta, until August?

Jairo Arrieta scored the second tally for Costa Rica in their 3-0 start to CONCACAF Gold Cup, on Tuesday:


I'm not sure how this will work out for Columbus. I believe that Arrieta is starting to get back his form, on the other side of things perhaps Oduro may cool down a bit. 

I think Oduro has been and will be one of the more productive members of the team, but if he has a run of games without a goal, Columbus is in trouble in July. 

For strikers, it's always a peaks and valley game, unless your Messi or Ronaldo.

Oduro will have to take over completely, but that all depends as well on the service he gets from the Columbus midfield. And lately, you never know where that service is coming from? Who is playing behind you? And, who will be there next week?

In July, the best thing coach Robert Warzycha can do is find the best group in midfield out of what he has at his disposal, and get some consistency out there weekly.

Also, Anor needs to keep getting involved around goal. Perhaps, Wil Trapp, working with Sanchez, can be that link up guy as well for Higuain and Oduro.

Further, I don't know if Federico Higuain is distracted by the ongoing visa impropriety investigations involving him from a few weeks back.

But, he needs to step up and start making his opportunities on the field and in the penalty kick area count. 

Can't be a player that allows personal problems to creep on the field, needs to get back to notching goals and assists for Columbus. 



Spot kick: Without Arrieta for a month, the Crew will be able to survive offensively? Oduro steps up and hits it in. I believe the Crew will be okay, especially since they haven't had to rely much on Arrieta for goals so far in 2013. Only 2 goals, 2 assists in 9 starts (12 overall games).

Sure Columbus could use more of what Arrieta did against Kansas City for the goal last week, and I think his form will spike this Summer.

But, at the same time Higuain, and to a lesser degree Oduro, have to kick it up another notch. So, do the Crew players in the starting eleven this past Sunday. 

These are mostly players who haven't been consistently playing for Columbus. They should work hard this next month to stay where there at.  

On the other hand, Higuain is a mainstay and might need to take a week off. He has 5 goals and 6 assists in 19 starts this year, but had 5 goals and 7 assists in 11 starts last year. 

Pipa needs to pick it up a bit, especially since most of his goals have been penalty kicks, and two of those penalty kicks were missed. 

It could be a long month if he doesn't. Nevertheless, I believe Wil Trapp and Bernardo Anor will play bigger roles. I also believe Oduro and Higuain will be smart about their chances. 

Columbus will be .500 or better the next month. Which will be good enough to keep them in the playoff hunt for a fall run.

4. Did Columbus kick their Dayton Dutch Lion neighbors out of the USL Pro Playoffs, on Wednesday?

The Dayton Dutch Lions were in good shape playoff-wise. But, after dropping two straight results to Richmond and the Columbus Crew Reserves (which in a weird way counts for USL Pro's standings in 2013), Dayton is having a bad week and may be in trouble.

In tonight's game, Dayton Dutch Lions manager Patrick Bal was red carded, and soon after the Crew slinked away with a 3-1 win late, off the toes of Tyson Wahl and Tony Tchani. 

The Dutch Lions stand in 7th place, the top 8 teams out of 13 make the USL Pro playoffs. Currently, the Dutch Lions are 5 points ahead of the 9th place Wilmington Hammerheads.

Before this week, Dutch Lions management and coach Patrick Bal were on a 10 game unbeaten streak. 

Now with two defeats, DDLFC are staring down a tough road in the schedule, and may be going on a little bit of a less desirable run. 

The Dutch Lions now play league leaders Orlando City in a pivotal game at home on Sunday, then they play Wigan Athletic on Tuesday (which for pride reasons may force them to play starters, I've worked with DDL and I'm sure they'll play mostly starters), then three days later there away to 6th place Charleston, then the next day they play 5th place Charlotte away, and 3rd place Harrisburg away four days after that. 

How the Dutch Lions play against Orlando City on Sunday will determine their playoff fate. A big win over the league leaders will get them going again, a loss and it may be curtains (or on the outside looking in) after the three game road trip. 

If they can go .500, they play Antiqua at home on July 26th, Antiqua has no wins and is -53 in goal differential this season. So, .500 the next few weeks and then an Antiqua win should be enough for the Dutch Lions to make their first playoff appearance ever, in any sort of league.

By the way, think the Crew had it rough last August when they were playing Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday, Wednesday ever week? 

The Dutch Lions from July 14th to July 26th, will play 6 games in 12 days. On average, that's a professional game every two days.

USL Pro has to be fun on the legs, especially when they're traveling to Charleston, SC by mini bus. 




Spot kick: Did the Columbus Reserves come back on Wednesday help kick the Dutch Lions out of the playoffs? No, wide right. The Dutch Lions will step up and win over league leaders Orlando City at home in a big win Sunday. Then they'll at least win one of the three on the road, and will definitely beat Antiqua; that should be enough to give them some distance from 9th place.

Sure, the Dutch Lions have to be disappointed not to pick up some points this week.

Dutch Lions Manager Patrick Bal got kicked out of the game, and twice out of two portions of the stands tonight; so dropping the lead against the Crew Reserves got the Dutch manager feeling some pressure and acting a little loopy.

But, even though there 5 points away from missing the playoffs. There also only 8 points away from winning the league, which could be five with a win against Orlando City on Sunday.

I like following what's going on in USL Pro, should be an interesting run-in to the end of that league's season.


5. Wil Trapp will become a starter for the Columbus Crew this Summer?

The Crew's Technical Director Brian Bliss stated earlier this season that Trapp has a lot of potential but they want to bring him along slowly.

Columbus really hasn't had a choice, Trapp has been gone twice with the U.S. National U-20's this season, most recently in the televised U-20 World Cup in Turkey. 

But, now back with Columbus, the Gahanna, OH native Trapp looks to improve on an impressive debut last Sunday.

Most Crew fans stated that Wil Trapp, Bernardo Anor, and Matt Lampson were the most impressive players on the pitch against the Portland Timbers

If Trapp can continue that form, then why should he not start? 

Trapp has an impressive intelligence and a professionalism for a young player, when it comes to how he goes about the game. 




Spot Kick: Can Wil Trapp become a starter this Summer? Yes, scooped the keeper. 

Trapp is definitely a talent and why can't he become a starter, if he can do the business? Trapp is perhaps the most impressive homegrown we have had; he has the highest ceiling on what he can do in the future with his career as well.

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