Welcome to Crewture.

Which stands for Crew and Culture, and follows Crew supporter culture. Created around the Nordecke creation and used to follow the rise of the supporters section which is now 10 years old.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

12.16.2013: Crew Roster Moves Can Scare Us, But At Least They Show Boldness

Go back to a week ago.. Did you expect the Crew's big move on Re-Entry Draft day to be Chad Marshall out and Daniel Paladini in? For an organization that has been very predictable and safe since 2008, bold may be better (and if it's not what have we really lost?)
Re-Entry Draft Day One

Last Thursday, the day of the re-entry draft, I was hoping for a positive move.

I didn't take my phone with me to work to keep updated that day. Instead, for once I wanted to build up some excitement to check out mlssoccer.com this offseason.

When I got home that day at 5:30 pm, I saw that Chad Marshall was traded for a 2015 3rd Round Superdraft Pick.

It wasn't exactly the excitement I had in mind. It wasn't exactly Zakuani or Franklin (or even Barklage). On paper, losing Chad Marshall had about the defensive sexiness of Noah Palmer in goal.

My mouth was open for a minute. I was confused. My first thought was, "for a third round superdraft pick, what the, are you kidding me?"

What we least expect, can scare us.

Were used to seeing Chad Marshall jumping over strikers and using his titanium headers to send balls back up to midfield.

Without him our defense seems unnatural.

My next thought was, "I'm going to post something."

But, I had nothing. This is something that needs processed, tabled for a few days, my mind just couldn't figure out what to write at that time.

Acceptance came next. It came a lot faster when I saw that parting with Marshall would clear $500,000 dollars (for a defender). Almost 1/5th of our roster space.

$500,000 dollars is a lot of money for anyone on last year's Crew team. Nearly every player looked inconsistent on a inconsistent team, and the whole lineup was  expendable in a way. Marshall (if you can clear your head of all the glory images of 2008) hasn't been nearly as good for that money, has a concussion history, and will be a free agent in 2015.

But, don't take it as a blanket acceptance.

I caution the Crew and Berhalter to get moving quickly on the direction of the club. The Greunebaum rights trade makes sense right away when you have Lampson and now Clark to fill that void. He has someone in mind to fill the void. Fine.

If he has someone great in mind to replace Marshall then he should get moving on that, if he thinks his youth might be able to replace that in a different system then he should say that. If he thinks a defensive void in Marshall can lead to securing multiple voids then he should say that. Berhalter has to have someone great in mind that will get the fans excited. The longer that is unclear the more legitimate it is to think there was someone of value to receive for Marshall, other than a $30,000 dollar Superdraft pick.

But, do I think it is the end of the world that Marshall is gone. No.

Josh Williams may have more upside, more hunger, and may make more sense as our main, defensive leader these next few years.

The 25 year old from Akron, could anchor and lead the defense from here on in if he is up to the challenge. That's fine if Berhalter gives him the challenge.

Also, I believe, our defense could improve overall by playing younger, quicker defenders that can play offensively too (if Berhalter learned anything from playing in Holland that may make sense to him).

Barson, Williams, Francis, and perhaps George and Wiet may end up being an improvement if a good defender could teach them some of that play. Especially if the Crew add in a few cheap, young internationals or MLSer's to battle them in those positions.

I wouldn't be surprised if other Crew defenders in the roster (or that the Crew still hold  rights to) are not really in Berhalter's plans.

I would not be too sad to see Glauber, Viana, and Wahl not be our main plans (because they couldn't be taught to play a up-tempo style). We were slow in defense last year and sometimes got killed because of it.

Of course, I'm grateful for what Chad Marshall has done over his Crew career. Chad Marshall was great at times last season. But, at times Chad Marshall was that comfortable employee.

His career could use a new surrounding and the Crew back line could perhaps use a new leader.

Sure, we need two strong center backs and Marshall is better than what we currently have on this day (with their training and the system that was in place), but is it too crazy to think that someone cheaper in defense (in a new system) will do the same or better than Marshall or Glauber could do in 2014?

This goes for anyone on last season's team. Marshall, Greunebaum, Higuain, Arrieta, etc; There all expendable because the overall effort was not good enough to get into the playoffs. They all may have had the best intentions but either they were gone too much, injured too much, or not consistent enough to make us a good team.

The pessimistic half of Crew fans say "we couldn't make the playoffs last year, how are we going to this year without our core?"

Well, if we don't make the playoffs, without our core, are we any worse off compared to last season?

Instead it makes just as much sense to say, "well that didn't work, let's try something else completely different under a new coach."

Without Gaven (who was the biggest piece), it makes sense just to clear out the rest and try again. A new group of players will respond more to a new coach that brings them in, compared to a group of comfortable players that perhaps believes that the locker room is theirs.

Paladini is cheap and serviceable in midfield.
Steve Clark and Matt Lampson are probably as good and cheaper than Greunebaum.
Marshall was a captain of a defense last year that was not that good.

Gregg Berhalter, ironically, was a defender who as a coach wants to spend the bulk of his money on attacking players. Let's see what he goes out and gets before crying too much over a group that was not good enough in 2013.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

12.12.2013: Former Crew Player Guillermo Barros Schelotto Wins First Coaching Title With Lanus

Guillermo Barros Schelotto (above), former Crew midfield creator and MLS Cup champion, led his Argentina Primera side Lanus to a Copa Sudamerica championship last night.

Lanus defeated Ponte Preta of Brazil 2:0 last night, and 3:1 overall in a home and home series.

With such success in Argentina, it's a surprise to me that Guillermo would be interested in going to some place as dull as FC Dallas. A part of me hopes he stays in Argentina for the time being, another part of me thinks he would be a welcome addition to the league even if it's not with Columbus.

Guillermo is interviewed at 9:10:

12.12.2013: Moment of Zen

Happy Re-entry draft day today. No news until 3 p.m., but here's the moment of zen for today.. Will take you back to 2010 season with,

Excited reporter-

If Ashleigh Ignelzi ever gets her big break, this guy rocks, bring him back please

Footage via Columbus Wired TV

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

12.11.2013: Moment of Zen- Berhalter The Model

JA! Vacker! Piercing blue eyes behind das structure beautiful Berhalty.
Berhalty! Ze looking fierce behind das graffiti!
Ohh now you play with my emotions with your expression.
I'm so chilly but feeling strong..
Ducky face. I like very much.
Your inspiration is a happy boy on Christmas.
Well let's hope it doesn't end the same.

They did let him keep the sweater.

12.10.2013: Dominic Oduro Turns Down Overseas Opportunities, Re-signs, Can He Outpace 2013 Total?

"He wanted to stay in Columbus." "Could of made more money elsewhere, but wanted to stay in Columbus." "Loves the support he gets here in Columbus." Some of the words from new Manager Gregg Berhalter on Dominic Oduro's decision to re-sign with Columbus.

The Columbus Crew reported that Oduro turned down offers from Scandinavian clubs, a team in Greece, and a few additional Arabic countries.

I looked everywhere online, google Greece, google Norway, google Sweden, google United Arab Emirates (which makes some interesting reading), and absolutely nothing. Only some websites stating, without any additional source, that the Greek club was from the top flight.

No leaks on the internet could likely mean that Oduro always saw himself back in Columbus, scoring goals, and didn't want a bunch of information out there about other contract offers.

Either way, I'm glad that Dominic Oduro is back with Columbus.

Returning your leading goal scorer should always be a priority.

Oduro 2013 Highlights:

Does Oduro eclipse his 13 goal mark in 2013? I think he may be close, but won't have to because likely he will be put on the wing and someone else will share the burden.

I believe the Crew will sign another striker or two, and probably trade or release a couple after camp. Waylon Francis likely means the Crew wants to run up and down both wings, anchoring things in the middle with DM's and the CB's who can cover. So, it's likely the Crew will want Oduro's speed out wide. (Vote it in the poll to the right).

Also, Oduro adds another element, entertainment:

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

12.10.2013: Who Should The Crew Pick Up In The Re-Entry Draft


Round 1.)
Round 2.)

The Re-Entry Draft process begins this Thursday at 3 pm. There are two rounds. The first round a club that drafts a player has to pay that players option salary for 2014, or offer an out of contract player drafted a new contract. In the second round (Dec. 18, 3 p.m.) a team can negotiate any sort of contract with any player listed.

Here's the draft order for both rounds.

1.    D.C. United
2.    Chivas USA
3.    Toronto FC
4.    Columbus Crew
5.    FC Dallas

6.    Philadelphia Union
7.    Vancouver Whitecaps FC
8.    Chicago Fire
9.    San Jose Earthquakes
10.  Montreal Impact
11.  Colorado Rapids
12.  New England Revolution
13.  Seattle Sounders FC
14.  LA Galaxy
15.  New York Red Bulls
16.  Houston Dynamo
17.  Portland Timbers
18.  Real Salt Lake
19.  Sporting Kansas City
Since the Re-Entry Draft began in 2010, only 6 players have been selected in the first round. While, most clubs naturally select in the second round (35 players in total since 2010), when a team can re-negotiate with any of the following players.

68 are eligible for 2013's draft and here's the list, with their 2013 pay rates (via here).

Chicago Fire
M Corben Bone ($49,000.00, option declined)
D Shaun Francis ($46,500.00, option declined)
M Joel Lindpere ($205,000.00, option declined)
F Daniel Paladini ($91,103.25, option declined)
M Logan Pause ($197,833.33, option declined)
M Chris Rolfe ($248,333.33, option declined)
F Maicon Santos ($164,433.33, option declined)
M Wells Thompson ($113,125.00, out of contract)
M Michael Videira ($47,125.00, option declined)

Chivas USA
D Ante Jazic ($132,187.50, out of contract)
D Steve Purdy ($80,004.00, option declined)
M Josue Soto ($35,125.00, option declined)

Colorado Rapids
GK Steward Ceus ($70,333.33, option declined)
M Brian Mullan ($170,335.00, option declined)
D Jamie Smith ($46,500.00, option declined)

Columbus Crew
D Danny O’Rourke ($175,000.00, option declined)
M Konrad Warzycha ($46,500.00, option declined)

D.C. United
M Dwayne De Rosario ($645,333.33, option declined)
D James Riley ($145,750.00, option declined)
F Carlos Ruiz ($75,000.00, option declined)
M Marcelo Saragosa ($110,000.00, option declined)
M John Thorrington ($150,000.00, option declined)
D Daniel Woolard (option declined)

FC Dallas
F Kenny Cooper ($342,500.00, option declined)
M David Ferreira ($730,000.00, option declined)
D Ugo Ihemelu ($200,000.00, option declined)

Houston Dynamo
D Bobby Boswell ($220,000.00, out of contract)
M Calen Carr ($94,588.00, out of contract)
D Michael Chabala ($57,508.00, option declined
M Alex Dixon ($54,612.50, option declined)
F Cam Weaver ($108,406.67, option declined)

Los Angeles Galaxy
M Colin Clark ($80,000.00, option declined)
M Laurent Courtois ($46,500.00, option declined)
D Sean Franklin ($248,333.33, option declined)
M Pablo Mastroeni ($200,000.00, out of contract)

 Montréal Impact
M Sinisa Ubiparipovic ($57,750.00, option declined)

New England Revolution
D Kevin Alston ($194,000.00, out of contract)
F Chad Barrett ($110,709.17, option declined)
F Ryan Guy ($48,510.00, option declined)
M Clyde Simms ($90,833.33, option declined)
M Juan Toja ($295,000.00, option declined)

New York Red Bulls
F Andre Akpan ($67,595.00, out of contract)
M Brandon Barklage ($67,595.00, option declined)
F Fabián Espindola ($150,000.00, option declined)
GK Kevin Hartman ($54,000.00, option declined, retiring)
D Heath Pearce ($340,736.00, out of contract)


Philadelphia Union
D Chris Albright ($75,000.00, out of contract, retiring)

 Portland Timbers
D David Horst ($70,000.00, option declined)
D Ryan Miller (option declined)

Real Salt Lake
M Yordany Álvarez ($46,500, option declined)
M Brandon McDonald ($273,250.00, option declined)
GK Josh Saunders ($95,250.00, option declined)
M Khari Stephenson ($81,958.33, option declined)

Seattle Sounders
D Marc Burch ($75,000.00, option declined)
GK Josh Ford ($46,500.00, option declined)
M Blair Gavin ($35,125.00, option declined)
M Mauro Rosales ($225,000.00, option declined)
M Steve Zakuani ($233,000.00, out of contract)

San Jose Earthquakes
D Nana Attakora ($61,665.00, option declined)
M Mehdi Ballouchy ($152,006.00, out of contract)
M Dan Gargan ($88,000.00, option declined)
GK Evan Newton ($46,500.00, option declined)

Toronto FC
F Justin Braun ($114,700.00, out of contract)
M Bobby Convey ($215,000.00, option declined)

Vancouver Whitecaps
GK Joe Cannon ($189,916.67, option declined, likely to retire)
F Tommy Heinemann ($51,975.00, option declined)
F Corey Hertzog ($60,670.67, option declined)
GK Brad Knighton ($68,600.00, option declined)

The only players that a team should plausibly take in the first round are those out of contract, without an option, highlighted in red.

All other players should be picked up usually in the second round, because their current contract, which will raise, isn't their correct current worth usually.

If you pick up a player in either round, you can keep picking up players until you PASS.

So, first round possible choices..
Big statement choice would be Steve Zakuani (or Sean Franklin, despite having an option declined, if you want to take him off the table). Either player is going to go at some point. I don't think either for the price, solves enough of the Crew's problems.

Another is Kenny Cooper, although I don't think he's worth it in either round, by a long shot.

Strong pickup might be Kevin Alston who is out of contract (or Brandon Barklage, whose option increases his contract but is in the sight lines of a lot of teams and perhaps deserves his option).

The Crew cannot afford to do anything else in the first round, except possibly offer Zakuani a cheaper contract, have him deny it, and then PASS. But, likely three other teams will look to do the same before the Crew, and I don't think Zakuani is the route or the fit for Columbus.

Instead, I would think about picking up an out of contract Kevin Alston, 121 appearances in Major League Soccer at only 25. Pretty decent speed that makes sense with another speed winger in Francis.

Then consider using your ability to pick up another player in the first round by not PASSing, perhaps a Barklage, who has 56 appearances in MLS (28 last year) and I believe deserves his option increase.

Then in the Second round where you can negotiate any contract with any player selected.

By pick four, Sean Franklin and Steve Zakuani are unlikely to be still available in Re-Entry.

But, a player I would pick and try to negotiate down because of injury is Mauro Rosales, who might enjoy playing next to another Argentine in Higuain. If they could get him for around $175,000, wouldn't be bad for a former Ajax, Argentine national.

Rosales usually played in the center for Seattle. Yet played right midfield most of his career and wouldn't be a bad, yet different, replacement for Gaven. Rosales may not be as fast, but is a good choice defensively and creatively. Also, if the Crew would get another speed option at RB like Alston (to match Waylon Francis at LB), that player could overlap.

After picking up those two, if for any reason Brandon Barklage, Chris Rolfe, Joel Lindpere, or James Riley make it to the second round of Round Two, I would try to offer them a much lesser contract. Josue Soto might be a good backup plan for Francis as well. If not then PASS.

-----------------Oduro------------------Sign Striker*-------------

*Or best of current.

Overall, the Crew should look at players like Alston, Barklage, Rosales with experience in MLS and with solid heads on their shoulders. Guys that are not bigger than the team. T
he Crew have enough projects on their 2014 roster, and would do well to get some solid guys with MLS experience in this Re-Entry Draft then looking abroad.

This draft is definitely the place to get MLS veterans (with success in the league) and the Crew could use some.