If Nemeth has strong interest in MLS return, Columbus has strong interest in him.

We currently sit number one in the allocation order, so if we want him can get him.

Crew SC vs. Eintracht Frankfurt Friendly.

In German, but hey may really need something Crew soccer to watch. So here it is.

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 new supporters section which is now 9 years old.

Monday, January 26, 2015

1.26.2015: Could Columbus Be In For Yura Movsisyan?

 
 
Major League Soccer website's transfer watch is saying there is a team making a move for Yura Movsisyan. The Columbus Crew may be out of international transfer spots, but could they be looking to incorporate some more firepower up front with a green card in hand.
 
If so, Movsisyan would be a delightful option. He's made the Russian Premier League look like an Indoor Soccer League with his strike rate there (44 goals in 82 overall games).




Yet, with English Premier League interest this past Summer, I doubt Spartak Moscow would let Yura go cheaply; Probably why the Major League Soccer side that made the offer was turned down.

Still if you were to go for broke, and wanted someone that could finish chances, Yura Movsisyan would be an excellent, green card target.

A sort of target that you could say "there you go, we are done with our offseason. Let's go win a trophy." But, I guess that depends on how ambitious Columbus Crew SC are in their first season rebranded.

**In other news, Juan Agudelo is also in negotiations with MLS again.

Not as interested in Agudelo. But, would like the Crew to be a little more aggressive and throw their hat in the ring for another player up top. I think the Crew are one credible striker away from a complete team.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

1.20.2015: Crew's Berhalter Makes A Smart Move For Robert Kristo


Some call him Robert, or Robbie, or Roberto Kristo; either way the 3rd Round Pick for the Columbus Crew will not be in a Crew jersey soon. The highly rated forward out of St. Louis University, is headed to the Serie B in Italy.

American Soccer News reported that the deal was a done one on December 24th, 2014 with a Serie B club, but the club in question hasn't been mentioned.

But, Kristo's Instagram hints it's Serie B side Vicenza Calcio; as Kristo tweeted an Instagram New Years picture mentioning Vecenza, Italy (which umm doesn't exist). But, Vicenza, Italy has a Serie B club called Vicenza Calcio.

Vicenza, who were just promoted, are doing well enough so far in Serie B in 14th place. Yet, are only five points ahead of the relegation places.

If you're hoping to see Kristo in Crew Stadium soon, the best bet is Vicenza has a bad second half of the season and get relegated; then they may be looking to release some players and now Berhalter calls with Kristo's rights in hand.

Or they get relegated and a non-established Kristo doesn't get any other calls, and doesn't find Serie C (now known as Lega Pro Prima) as sexy.

Either way, while you hope for a young American prospect to be successful, Serie B may not work out and it may not even have to do with Kristo, who appears to have tons of potential, but instead the situation.

“He could potentially be signing in Italy right now,” Berhalter told Adam Jardy this afternoon. “We know that. Worst-case scenario, if he did end up signing and he plays a year there or a year and a half there and wants to come back, we own his rights.”

15 hours ago, Kristo posted this picture of him headed to Italy:

If you shook the snow globe of possibilities, my dream scenario now for mid-Summer is Miroslav Klose, with two hungry strikers that have confidence, have scored goals in college like Sagi Lev-Ari and Robert Kristo behind him learning.

That makes a lot more sense if you want to get serious about scoring, than what we've had.

1.20.2015: Miroslav Klose Would Make Columbus A Contender, But I Still Find That Dreamland Unlikely

 
The home opener against Toronto FC on March 14th might be a big time event now with Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley coming to town.

It's unlikely to be because the Columbus Crew have signed a star to lead their line. But, wait a star linked to Columbus (with no facts or resources for said rumor) Go to link!

Who started this, well the German Bild mentioned Klose contact for Klose with Major League Soccer..

And then Crew fans ran with it taking to Twitter, and proclaiming Columbus, home of the Nordecke and German Village, must be one of the MLS teams in for the German (well, sort of German) Miroslav Klose.



Let's just say when you've scored the most goals in World Cup history, and 71 goals in 137 appearances for Germany, your still in demand at 36. To get in on the fun #KloseToColumbus
Well, at least Berhalter, didn't laugh and/or spit out his morning coffee or cappuccino.

The 36 year old Klose is looking for a move; as he is currently not enjoying life at Lazio, where he described himself, in December, as an "old table thrown into the cellar."

In addition, The German Bild said that Klose will not return to his former club, current relegation battlers Werder Bremen, or to any Bundesliga team. But, instead his destination is likely to be the United States.

But, where to?

If Columbus is really giving it a go, signing Klose and the much more likely Argentine right back Grana would put them at 9 internationals (1 over the limit).

If that's the case the Columbus Crew would have to trade for an international slot; or at the end of preseason, part ways with the draftee that has impressed less out of Sergio Campbell or Lev-Ari; Or Federico Higuain, or one of the Crew's two aforementioned draft picks may be very Klose to a green card.

Either way it's fun to dream.

Having someone like Klose wearing the Crew jersey would be a honor. Also, Lev-Ari, who I think will surprise and make the team, is a poacher who could learn a lot from a year or two behind a great poacher in Klose. That may not be a bad idea.

In addition, if your trying to jumpstart a new brand, having the top goalscorer in World Cup history in your shirt isn't a bad way to do it.

But, despite the Crew's new Bundesliga-like logo and the fact that Lazio isn't exactly Roma, Juventus, or AC Milan, therefore Klose might not demand to be in the largest market; I would still expect him to go to a bigger market with a DP slot left, like a New York Red Bull or even perhaps the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Still after a nice move for fullback Chris Klute, who knows what Berhalter and Precourt may have up their sleeves.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

1.13.2015: Mix Diskerud & His Yankee Hats Sign For NYCFC


Major League Soccer putting a big name in a big city, well I be damned.

Mix Diskerud looks lottery winning happy though signing with NYCFC (above). A club with so much history and passion. In fact, Mixy looks like a seven year old child that got the toy he wanted for Christmas. Quite. Because he now works at Yankee Stadium and can get all the Yankee hats that he can get his super cool, fruit juggling hands on.

As you may be aware, at one point this Summer, the Columbus Crew were excruciatingly close to signing U.S. international Mix Diskerud. But, it didn't happen so better things can for Diskerud and his Yankee fitted's.
 

A Columbus Clippers hat just doesn't have the same appeal. The same swag, you feel?

Well, don't show Mix this strictly fitted, Clipper hat.

 
 
Overall, Mix Diskerud has spent $2,219 dollars and 26 cents on Yankee hats. Well, that's not just a little OCD, can't think of any better use for over two grand.
 
 
No Pirates fitted though, isn't that hat 101?
 
When he comes to Columbus, we should make a big hat tifo that says? Post your thoughts @CrewtureFanzine
 


Monday, January 12, 2015

1.12.2015: Crewture's Crew SC 2015 Mock Draft Analysis, First Round

Gregg Berhalter needs to do much, much better in this draft. Columbus had the same #14 pick last year and picked Ben Sweat, who played once in the U.S. Open Cup, and then was shipped off to the Dayton Dutch Lions. The other picks were not much better. Fifi Baiden (42 overall) was sent to the same place and was released by Columbus after just one season. Adam Bedell (45 overall), scored two goals in sixteen appearances, but wouldn't be called an answer up front yet. At #14 again this Thursday, Berhalter should look for a player that can come in and make an impact.
 
Strikers are undervalued in the draft and usually written off, unless they're that one player being hyped. The Crew may find an impact player at that position.
 
 
Pick #14: Sagi Lev Ari, Dzenan Catic, or Miguel Aguilar-
Everyone is saying that it would be best for the Columbus Crew to pick up some defensive talent in the 2015 MLS Draft, that can prosper under Michael Parkhurst and Emmanuel Pogatetz.

But, I don't see anyone extremely worthwhile that is going to make it to pick #14, unless Ramon Martin del Campo (who's had a sluggish combine) drops that far. And even then he might not be a sure thing or worth it.

U.S. U-23 Ramon Martin del Campo, who was seen as the most likely center back in this draft to succeed, could either not make it to #14 or be bypassed by all (opinions change when team officials finally see someone firsthand).

He could be selected by #3 pick Montreal Impact, who are in need of center backs. If not, it may be hard for #4 San Jose to pass up their own product (they know del Campo best, have seen him firsthand, and can make a decision based on all of his work). Martin del Campo played his PDL ball at San Jose Earthquakes.

If San Jose says "no thanks" despite all of their hands on time with del Campo, it may be a while.

Axel Sjolberg would be available at #14. But, the big argument for him going to Columbus sits on the whole he's Swedish and Berhalter coached in Sweden and knows the language thing, but really Sjolberg can go anywhere because he obviously knows English as well (played three years at Marquette).

It's kind of a weak overall argument to sign someone based on their language, instead the focus should be on does the talent fit into the system Berhalter plays?

Sjolberg reminds me defensively of Tyson Wahl, if so he may not be the best type of defender for possessing the ball out of the back and working it up.

Sjolberg is a tall, thin, not overally quick center back with perhaps a little more coordination and skill on the ball if compared to Wahl. He's a much better threat offensively on corners, a good header of the ball both in the offensive and defensive end.

And, actually his 6'7 frame and the havoc he could create in the box might make him more useful as a Jan Koller-type target forward. You think I'm joking, but in need of a goal in the last 10 minutes, he could be good in the box.

That was the most impressive part of his video for me as a defender (as some of his highlight interceptions and tackles took a friendly bounce to a teammate instead of an opponent):



Either way, I'm not convinced that the Columbus Crew's biggest need in the draft is central defense or that the Crew will find what they want in a center back apprentice at #14. I don't think the Crew will go #14 at right back two years in a row or there is an attractive enough left back.

Instead it could be argued that forward is just as big, or the biggest need. Look at up top, we have Kei Kamara, Aaron Schoenfeld, and Adam Bedell.

The only decent threat up top out of the three of them is possibly Kei Kamara, 52 MLS goals in 193 appearances. But, it's been a while since Kamara has been in MLS or played (he hasn't played a competitive game since last Spring). Since 2013, Kamara has only scored 5 goals in 36 appearances in England.

Kamara could come back and not put much into the net, who do we turn to then?

Compared to striker, at least at center back we have two strong starters in Michael Parkhurst and Emmanuel Pogatetz, with Tyson Wahl receiving a lot of minutes as well last season. Further, Berhalter if he needs center back depth has had a lot more success acquiring talent at center back than he has had at striker. So far Berhalter has acquired  Parkhurst, Pogatetz, and Giancarlo Gonzalez at center back.

As a result, perhaps it's easier to attract a high quality defender to Columbus. So, what would stop Berhalter from acquiring another (younger) center back before the 2015 season, if necessary?

On the other hand, if it was so easy for Berhalter to sign a serious striker, you think he would've waited this long to do it? So, why not try to unearth one in the draft?

A few intrigue me from what I've read and from their stats.

Sagi Lev Ari is intriguing and would be available. 42 goals in 64 games for Cal St. Northridge says to me pure finisher. He's 25, has been in the Isreali Army, he's mature, and he's an obvious finisher type forward from his video.



Not every goal is pretty, but for Columbus it's been difficult for most of their strikers to finish chances (straightforward or not). I think Lev Ari is capable of putting what are midfield and Higuain sets up into the back of the net, in a simple manner.

Dzenan Catic is also another, 63 goals in 47 games for (NAIA) Davenport is not only impressive, but ridiculous. I've covered three NAIA Championships and it's still a good level. Someone in Lev Ari or Dzenan Catic that has stuck the ball in the back of the net so many times will have confidence that they can do it anywhere (or at least more than a striker that never has). Either way, I think both would be more prolific compared to Schoenfeld and Bedell, and perhaps Kamara who's only been a 1 goal every 4 games striker in MLS.



In another manner, if Columbus are looking to take the pain away from not acquiring Cedrick. Miguel Aguilar, if he makes it to #14 with the combine he's had, also is worth a look and then some. He's listed as a forward, but is more likely a winger and could be a heck of a rookie replacement for the loss of Bernardo Anor if his combine form can continue. Aguilar could also be converted to a back position possibly.



The thing is Lev-Ari or Catic would be an upgrade more than likely over our other forwards after Kei Kamara, and may be more useful than Kamara now (who knows?).  Even if our midfield is good, Aguilar would improve the squad and make it better.

On the other hand, I don't know if any defender available will be an answer to our back line depth issue.

Trade Up: Columbus doesn't pick again until the second round, #35. I could see trading up into the #15-#25 range for Aaron Simmons or Jose Rivas if Berhalter thinks one of them could slot in for Waylon Francis when he's at the Gold Cup.


Gregg Berhalter likes guy's with versatility and that give him options. Simmons is a guy that would give Berhalter options, a player that has played central defense and midfield for UCLA, but with his size and speed could easily be converted to an outside back in MLS and would likely be a more natural fit there. If Berhalter values Simmons, and is going the safe route in this draft, I can see him going as well at #14 (more likely than Sjolberg who doesn't really fit into a possession type, out of the back play that Berhalter likes). But, Simmons also only started 16 out of 24 games for UCLA in his Senior year, so is he a #14 pick?


Either way, in the draft expect the unexpected. Not very often, past the first few picks, does the mock drafts go as planned. So, that's why I wouldn't be surprised if the Crew address forward depth instead.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

1.8.2015: Osasuna May Have to Part With Cedrick for Other Reinforcements

Photo by MIKEL SAIZ


It's the middle of the Spain's Segunda Division season. Osasuna are currently 11th, 5 points off from a promotion playoff, 6 points ahead of relegation. Relegated last year, Osasuna are going to have to shake the team up, move a couple people if they want to return to La Liga. They need to make up for their goal differential, they need more goals in the second half of their season to balance an atrocious defense. Think Liverpool last season, scoring a lot more is the only way to success. Their 29 goals allowed over the first half of the year only beats out relegation battlers CE Sabadell (32 allowed), Barcelona B (34 allowed), and Albacete Balompie (36 allowed). Their goal forwarded amount is 25, which isn't bad but the 9th best output. 9th best scoring, with 19th best defense, if that continues Osasuna won't be anywhere near the promotion spots or promotional-playoff hunt. They'll stick around their current position of 11th out of 22 teams. If it gets worse, they could be in the relegation hunt, 19th place UE Llagostera is only six points back.

A local journalist embedded with the team wrote the most insightful article a few days back; as according to Natalia Perez with News of Navarra, Osasuna wants to strengthen their squad in the winter market (no surprise after that intro) and can only do so if outgoing players leave early in the month. In addition, Osasuna are trying to lessen the amount of players on their books that count as internationals. But, Cedrick isn't exactly the international that Osasuna had in mind to be on the way out. Or Osasuna just says that as they haven't made a firm decision on which internationals they can part ways with and which ones they need to hold onto.

Osasuna has said in several articles that they value Cedrick's speed, they see it as a difference maker in a team that lacks pace. Because of this Osasuna are focusing on possibly moving other internationals. At least, that's what they're hinting at in this article, and have been by driving their valuation of Cedrick up, through mentioning his use to the squad.

The article implies instead of moving Cedrick...
Osasuna wants to (move) make a decision on the futures of Cameroonian defensive midfielder Raoul Loe, Iranian striker Karim Ansarifard, and Algerian center back Liassine Cadamuro.

BUT, the article also mentions that Osasuna still haven't made up their minds on the future of Cedrick. So, Osasuna has said no BUT not loudly or firmly. There's a theme of this, in this article Osasuna says they've rejected the deal, UNLESS they get a bigger deal to convince the club to part ways with Cedrick.

Osasuna has time to make a deal (about a week) so they're just posturing for the best move they can make for Cedrick. But, either way, Osauna's needs to make room for other targets, especially international targets.

So, in the end they may have no choice but to accept the Crew's original offer.

Still, let's play Osasuna's game for a while. Let's say Osasuna are looking for more money from Columbus, because they value Cedrick more compared to the other three internationals. Let's say they truly rather keep Cedrick around because of his speed. Yet if no one else listed above (essentially on the transfer list) goes then Osasuna needs to part ways with Cedrick; especially before The African Cup of Nations, or they have virtually no way to improve their team as they desire and reach promotion.

That's if Osasuna believes they have a target (or targets) that can get them closer to promotion than Cedrick (and other mentioned internationals) can.

Overall, Cedrick has made 14 appearances in 19 matches, which could seem pretty substantial as he's made a mark in nearly 75% percent of the games. Yet, most were either as a substitute or an early exit as he has only logged 697 minutes; if Cedrick started all fourteen games he would be nearly double that at 1260 minutes. He has three assists, but Cedrick's supposed to be a dangerous winger. His three assists equate to a contribution in 1 out of every 8.3 Osasuna goals. Despite potential, that output should be expendable for a team in Osasuna's situation.

But, that depends on how Osasuna expects to improve to 6th or better.

To do so wouldn't be with defensive acquistions, it's probably not the best move to integrate someone into the back four in the middle of the season, unless your pretty confident in that person. If it goes south your not in 11th, your in 19th. Instead, Osasuna's best chance to move up is to improve their offense by acquiring international transfers that up the goal total amount.

This is why Cedrick could leave.

Osasuna shouldn't have a problem with letting go of a winger that contributes to 1 out of every 8.3 goals for the club, for one that contributes to 2 or 2.5 out of every 8 goals. Or moving him for another international striker to come in and possibly help score more goals. Since Cedrick is only getting about 1/3 the minutes at his position, 697 of a total 1710 minutes, Osasuna could just replace him with the winger currently on the team sharing time with Cedrick anyway.

To me it sounds like if there is no interest in the other three, they'll have to accept Columbus's deal to try to improve their own team. I'm sure a few days before January 17th we'll hear one way or the other.  January 17th Cedrick is on duty with the Democratic Republic of Congo in the African Cup of Nations, and that will last two to three weeks. A bad month could push Osasuna further back and Cedrick can't even contribute. So, it might be wise for Osasuna to try to find someone that can.

Betis favors the option of Cedrick going to Columbus (probably because it gets Cedrick off their books) but Osasuna has to accept it as well. And although some news outlets have reported that Osasuna has rejected the offer outright, I think there's a lot of thinking (like I tried to do above) going on.
 

1.7.2015: Cedrick Update

I come over? Maybe, maybe not?

On January 3rd multiple reports had the Columbus Crew putting an offer down for 22 year old Real Betis/Osasuna winger Cedrick. No idea what the offer is or the compensation for Real Betis or Osasuna, yet FutbolMLS stated Tuesday that Cedrick would be fine with trying his luck with MLS or respecting any decision the two Spanish clubs make, but doesn't mention a source. Vavel Spain said Monday that Osasuna isn't interested in departing with Cedrick and Cedrick isn't interested in a move to Major League Soccer. On top of that, Osasuna rejected the initial offer.




Even if FutbolMLS ran across another source on the internet, Osasuna isn't budging either way.

Osasuna doesn't believe they're getting enough compensation, in the middle of their season, to find a suitable replacement. They would also have to integrate that replacement into their team.

In addition, Osasuna values Cedrick and would like to keep him on for the remainder of the original loan deal that expires June 30th.

Sounds dead in the water, but possibly a solution can be reached with a better deal, if Vavel's reporting that Cedrick "frowns on a move to MLS" is pure B.S.; Vavel is pretty legitimate so it's probably not.

1.6.2015: The Five Worst MLS Signings (So Far) This Offseason

 
 

The Major League Soccer offseason signings this year have been a bit underwhelming. But, it's surprising that scouts (if MLS teams have such a thing) scouted these guys and gave them the big thumbs up. It's even more astounding that the coaches didn't say "meh, why don't we wait and see if something better comes along?" Most of all it's stupefying that the MLS Front Office signed off on giving some of these guys paychecks.

What would've made more sense.. Instead of these bums, would be to put another American college kid on the roster, where one might develop into a star, not an insurance salesman.

Without further delay, the 5 Worst MLS Signings (So Far) This Offseason:

1.) The Chicago Fire's Guly do Prado.
 
A 33 year old Brazilian, released from Southampton last May of 2014. For the last seven months he's been without a club. The only kicking Guly's been doing is kicking it on the couch.

Guly has found the net every once in a while. He's scored 19 goals in 103 games for Southampton, nearly all were pre-Premier League. For 9 clubs over 12 years he's scored 52 goals in 250 matches.

So, the Chicago Fire are paying a 1 goal every 5 games, 33 year old striker; who is likely very rusty and in atrocious soccer shape.

Yikes.

2.) Orlando City's Gustavo "The Refrigerator" Silva.
I'm going to pump, you up!

A 28 year old defender considered by Flamengo fans in Brazil as the worst player in club history. Only lasted six games, before being shipped off to the Brazilian second division. He's most recently played in the Brazilian third division for Villa Nova, where Orlando City finally picked him up (with a crane).

3.) Chicago Fire's Adailton
 
31 year's old. Played in the Swiss Second Division, before returning to Brazil's Bahia where he made four appearances the entire 2014 season. The value and upside to this transfer are currently alluding me.
 
I feel like this is who is doing Chicago Fire's player valuations:
 I really think an agent is duping a lot of MLS clubs into shitty Brazilians, with cool names.
 


4.) NYCFC's Andres Mendoza Uza
 
"Hey sorry about Frank Lampard" but here's a 28 year old who has had a pretty underwhelming career in Ecuador, and most recently played in the hidden talent gem, the Second Division of Uruguay. Why even bother with a press release?
 
5.) The Portland Timbers Jeanderson.
 
 Jeanderson was plying his trade in what is considered the 5th division of Brazil.

Why he ranks fifth in this list is because at least Jeanderson is 23, Caleb Porter may be able to work a miracle here.

But, overall, I think we've gone back to MLS circa 2005 with some of these deals. Is there a worse transfer that I missed so far that belongs on the list? What deal do you think is the dumbest? Tweet @CrewtureFanzine.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

1.6.2015: So Far, Berhalter's Offseason Work Far Exceeds Other MLS Clubs


Columbus Crew SC boss Gregg Berhalter started his 2015 club transformation early.

He missed out on Mix Diskerud during the August transfer window.

But, on September 8th, Berhalter added 31 year old Austrian international Emmanuel Pogatetz to replace Giancarlo Gonzalez. On October 7th Berhalter then captured MLS journeyman Kei Kamara, through the decision to use his allocation spot to nab the proven Major League Soccer striker.

Kamara returns to Columbus after a eight year hiatus, his last two stops were in England with Middlesborough and Norwich City.

Before those moves Berhalter quietly nabbed the highly touted US U-20 International Romain Gall in a weighted lottery.

Then on October 16th, Berhalter graduated Crew academy top prospect, Ben Swanson. Swanson is one of the top U-18 players in the country and has been in the Crew residency program since the age of nine, a rarity and then some outside of top European academies.

It will be exciting to see how Berhalter fits the seventeen year old Grove City, Ohio kid into the plans over the 2015 season, along with the nineteen year old Gall.

But, Berhalter didn't stop there. Still alive in the 2014 playoffs, the Crew Manager still had eye's on the future.

On October 29th, days before the home leg of a playoff with the New England Revolution, Berhalter signed the just turned 24, Swede midfielder Mohammed Saeid. A West Brom product; the defensive midfielder had 68 appearances, 7 goals with Swedish First Division side Orebro over the past two seasons.

Saeid is also capable of the big moments:


On December 11th, Berhalter went back to his Swedish contacts, and signed 24 year old Kristinn Steindórsson. Another Swedish First Division player, with 77 appearances and 16 goals over the last two seasons with Halmstads BK.

Here's Steindorsson having some fun against Saeid's club Orebro:


Then on January 3rd multiple reports have the Columbus Crew putting an offer down for 22 year old Real Betis/Osasuna winger Cedrick. The offer apparently is around one million, and reports from today state that Cedrick would be fine with trying his luck with MLS or respecting any decision the two Spanish clubs make.

Cedrick has blistering pace and is good on the ball, would be an excellent winger replacement for Bernardo Anor:


On January 5th, the Columbus Crew re-signed Federico Higuain to a multi-year deal. The largest deal in club history.

The Crew are also rumored to be searching for a South American right back to fill that hole from last season.

I would prefer a player like Argentinian 26 year old right back Gaston Diaz:


So, to recap on players picked up almost exclusively for 2015 and beyond:
-31 year old Austrian center back Emmanuel Pogatetz (61 caps with Austria)
-30 year old striker Kei Kamara (around 200 caps, 50 goals already in MLS)
-24 year old Icelandic midfielder Kristinn Steindorsson  (77 appearances in the Swedish First Division over the prior two seasons)
-24 year old Swedish midfielder Mohammed Saeid (68 appearances in the Swedish First Division & Second Division over the prior two seasons)
-19 year old American midfielder Romain Gall (top U.S. U-20 product)
-17 year old American midfielder Ben Swanson (top U.S. U-18 product)

If the Columbus Crew can add Cedrick and a top quality South American right back, Berhalter will have all his shopping nearly done well before training camp begins.

What should make you more happy is comparing Columbus signings to recent business of other teams..

The Chicago Fire just signed today, striker Guly do Prado.
A 33 year old Brazilian, released from Southampton last May of 2014. Has been without a club for the last seven months. Prado has scored 19 goals in 103 games for Southampton, nearly all pre-Premier League. 52 goals overall in 250 matches for 9 clubs over 12 years. Yikes.

So, the Chicago Fire are paying a 1 goal every 5 games, 33 year old; who is likely very rusty and in atrocious soccer shape.

Orlando City threw some cash at Brazilian defender Gustavo "The Refrigerator" Silva.
Andy Iro is that you?

A 28 year old defender considered by Flamengo fans in Brazil as the worst player in club history. Only lasted six games, before being shipped off to the Brazilian second division where Orlando City finally picked him up.

The big club NYCFC signed Ecuadorian 28 year old defender Andres Mendoza Uza
 
Who has had a pretty underwhelming career in his native Ecuador, and most recently played in the hidden talent gem, the Second Division of Uruguay
 
The Portland Timbers signed 23 year old Brazilian defender Jeanderson.
 
 
Jeanderson was plying his trade in what is considered the 5th division of Brazil.

So, overall, compared to the scouting and decision making of some MLS clubs, I like where Berhalter is going.

1.6.2015: Former Columbus Crew Player Daniel Paladini Charged With Six Counts in Domestic Abuse Case

Picture credit: Sum Lau
 
Former Columbus Crew midfielder Daniel Paladini was charged with three counts of domestic abuse and three counts of assault today, according to The Columbus Dispatch. Paladini had the police called on October 28th for a reported domestic abuse of his fiancée Sarah Alexander.
 
Paladini and Alexander are pictured to the left at a party during his time with Major League soccer outfit, Chicago Fire. The couple met during his time with that club.
 
On October 29th, the league was informed of the incident, that spanned three days. The league suspended Paladini with pay.
 
On November 3rd, the Columbus Crew and the league made the suspension with pay public.
 
On November 18th, Paladini was one of seven Crew players whose option was declined.
 
Prior to these events, Paladini broke his leg on September 16th and as a result was sidelined for the rest of the 2014 season. He kept upbeat, posting to twitter that "it would not stop him."
 
Yet, fiancée Alexander told Gahanna police that Paladini was struggling with his situation. That Paladini, according to The Columbus Dispatch's article, became "increasingly violent and upset over the previous few weeks from dealing with stress from the injury and his contract being almost up."
 
Before the injury, Paladini made four appearances for the Columbus Crew, three as a starter.
 
The incidents with fiancée Sarah Alexander were alleged to occur on three consecutive days from October 26th to October 28th. The Columbus Dispatch report of what occurred was rather disturbing.
 
Paladini, from looking at his twitter has kept close to family in the meantime and has done some traveling to San Francisco and back home. Sarah Alexander's twitter has her back in Chicago. From the looks of things the couple does not appear to be still together.
 
A pretrial hearing is set for January 14th.

1.6.2015: Crew After South American Right Back, Possible Targets

It's been rumored that the Columbus Crew are finally closing in on a right back. This tweet mentions the Crew are after a South American right back. But, it may not be previously rumored twenty-nine year old Boca Juniors right back Hernan Grana. So, here's a list of other South American right back options the Crew could pursue or be in the pursuit of in addition to Grana:
 
Argentinian Gaston Diaz, 26, Right Back, On Loan with Racing until December 31st, 2015, then back to Gimnasia. Has made 19 appearances for Racing Club in 2014, wasn't in Gimnasia's overall plans.

Boxes Gaston would check off:
Argentine and has Guillermo Barros Schelotto connection- Made 13 appearances with Lanus in Schelotto's debut season. Schelotto could give a decent scouting report; and depending on relationship with Gaston, Schelotto could recommend Columbus.


Has all the tools- What you would look for in a right back. Good pace, aggressive at getting up the line. Good build, above average crosser and passer of the ball.


Good age- Still has re-sale value at 26, compared to if the Crew were going after Boca Juniors Grana.


Some off the field, DUI problems. Can't seem to stick at one club recently since his early days with Velez Sarsfield. But, on a positive note, brings down the price tag a little.


Racing may be looking to keep ahold of Gaston since they won the first half of the season with him, but possibly for the right price he could be plied away since he's still owned by Gimnasia (part of the reason for the loan to Racing appears to be financially related, Racing paying most of the players wages). Gaston may see America as a new challenge and may be worth top money to help solidify our back line in a real place of need.

He was a top player this past Torneo in Argentina. But, he hasn't been entirely consistent over multiple years, he is a right back/not an attacking player, for a very solid transaction fee to Gimnasia/Racing in a similar vain to Cedrick and a very good wage in Major League Soccer it's a possibility. Crew need to think a bit bigger this year. Would definitely fill the final gap, if you think Kamara will fill the gap up top.

Either way, this little clip is worth a viewing.





Brazilian Guilherme Choco, 24, Right Back. Out of contract with Ludogorets since January 1st, 2015

Boxes Choco would check off:
Correct age- So far Gregg Berhalter has made two overseas signings in Icelandic midfielder Kristinn Steindorsson and Swedish defensive midfielder Mohammed Saeid. Both are 24, Choco is 24.


Right kind of pedigree- Has played first division football, at a high level for Bulgarian overachievers Ludogorets. A side that gave both Liverpool and Real Madrid fits in the Champions League this past Fall.

Wing back that would fit into Berhalter's system- Very similar type of game to Waylon Francis. Above average quickness, a good crosser of the ball.


In addition, Ludogorets play a similar, attractive passing out of the back game to Columbus Crew. I think Choco should be decently affordable.

I believe Choco wasn't re-signed because Júnior Caiçara, another Ludogorets Brazilian was preferred to him. But, with 71 appearances over three seasons, helping Ludogorets to three trophies, he may be worth a look, especially since he would cost nothing.

Some extremely excellent crosses:



Braian Lluy, 25, Right Back. Out of Contract this upcoming June with Greek Super League side Asteras Tripolis.
 
Boxes Braian Would Check Off:
Right Age- 25



Right kind of pedigree- Has made over 60 appearances for Racing in Argentina, and recently in the UEFA Europa League for Asteras Tripolis against Tottenham, Besiktas.


Argentine factor- I would not be surprised if our new right back was Argentine as per condition with Federico Higuain signing. And that may not be a bad thing... When the Crew last won MLS Cup they had Guillermo Barros Schelotto and an Argentinian outside back in Gino Padula. Lluy is a similar build but a little more tidier on the ball.

Asteras Tripolis plummeted out of the Europa League and as a result may be looking to sell off some pieces. Lluy has made about 60-70% percent of appearances, but could be dispersed with. If Berhalter can afford a transfer bid for Cedrick, I believe he could for Lluy.



Other possible Argentinian Right Backs:


Ismael Quilez, 26- Plays for a promotion side Aldosivi in the Argentina Primera. But, was
the right back when Federico Higuain played for Colon in Argentina before coming to the Columbus Crew. I'm sure Aldosivi doesn't have a big budget, and Quilez isn't exactly the most in demand Argentinian right back, but could still be serviceable and do the job for Columbus Crew SC. Would be an upgrade compared to last year's situation.

Former Higuain teammate- Big checkmark.



Hugo Nervo, 24- Unlikely, too good, too consistent for Arsenal de Sarandi. Would have to take a major move to pry him away. Doubt the Crew will go that route, think someone like Quilez is more in their wheelhouse for a right back.

Jonathon Ferrari, 27- Pretty solid defender, has done a lot of jumping around lately. Finally landed with Argentina Primera lower table side Atlético de Rafaela.



If the Crew want to take a flier, and go really cheap on the position. Here's a couple Argentine's for the job..

Pablo Barzola, 31- Very similar pedigree, resume to Gino Padula. Both made last stops in France. Hasn't really played much since moving to Argentinos Juniors, resurrected his career a bit in 2014 with more appearances but dispensable, cheap. Would probably be keen on a move to America.

Crew should possibly set their sights a bit higher.

Santiago Hernan Villafane, 25- Plays up in the Danish Superliga for FC Midtjylland, in Gregg Berhalter's old neck of the woods. Wouldn't be expensive, hasn't played a lot. Has been with Boca Juniors, Real Madrid though. Could use a career resurrection, but also might be suffering from Freddy Adu syndrome.



Who do you think would be the best, most feasible choice out of these South American options? Do you have a better player in mind? Do I have the wrong idea focusing mainly on Argentina? Comment here or on our twitter @CrewtureFanzine.

Monday, January 5, 2015

1.5.2015: Osasuna Rejects Deal, Cedrick Not Keen On Columbus Move


Vavel Spain just reported that although Real Betis may have accepted the Crew's transaction that neither the player or Osasuna want the deal to happen.

The article states that Cedrick, at this point in his career, "frowns upon a move to MLS."

Cedrick will stay with Osasuna until June, unless and big surprise, Osasuna gets a bigger compensation on the deal. Real Betis gave their blessing to reject the deal.

Osasuna stated that Cedrick's speed and quality is scarce throughout the club and unless they got a bigger deal they want to keep him.

According to the article, both Real Betis and Osasuna would have to accept the deal. Which is in line with this summary, as according to Pit Sports, both teams would be compensated for the transaction involving the Congolese winger.

Either way, this seems to put the Cedrick move to Columbus Crew SC to bed, unless the Crew put more cash on the table.

But, if the player isn't interested, it's probably best to move on to other options.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

1.4.2015: Columbus Crew After La Liga Winger Cedrick

 
Reports out of Spain, have Columbus Crew SC giving 22 year old Cedrick Mabwati a succulent offer, that is for all parties nearly a done deal. The Congolese player has plied his trade in the first and second divisions of Spain for Athletico Madrid, Betis, Osasuna, and Numancia.
 
Cedrick is a speedy versatile player, having played many positions including left back, left wing, and some central, attacking midfield. He has Dominic Oduro speed, but also has skill on the ball, he's an excellent dribbler.
 
More than likely Cedrick will battle Kristinn Steindórsson for the left midfield spot left occupied from the departure of Bernardo Anor.
 
I like Cedrick's Spanish resume a bit more. I believe Steindorsson will be useful and get his share of games as a multiple-depth option throughout midfield; sort of as Meram has done throughout his Columbus career.
 
Another possibility is that Waylon Francis, who had a strong season in 2014, is on his way out for some reason, slotting Cedrick to left back. Or possibly Berhalter wants two speedy wing backs and Cedrick will be converted to right back to balance with Francis's speed on the left.
 
But the more than likely scenario is that Gregg Berhalter can't pass up all that speed, skill on one flank. Having Francis, who gives good service, overlapping Cedrick to seek out Kei Kamara with his crosses sounds like an optimally dangerous wing.
 
Whereas, on the other side, Ethan Finlay will likely win out and Meram will pop up in striker and midfield roles nearly every game.
 
In addition, if signed the price tag that a 22 year old winger, with La Liga and African Cup of Nations experience entails, would more than likely imply that he's the top man for our left side.
 
Speed, with ball skills on the wing, twenty-two years young, and has learned his game in Spain since the age of thirteen. I feel pretty comfortable with that sort of resume/move.
 
If that's not convincing enough, here's Cedrick taking it to Real Madrid a year ago:

 
Not sure how anyone could look at that and not be buzzing to see him in Columbus Crew Stadium.
 
A lot of Crew fans might be saying, another winger? Another midfielder? But, we lost Anor (typically on the left) and we bring in two guys to replace him.

I think it's not a bad situation to be stacked in midfield and to have options.

If Gregg Berhalter can land a 22 year old winger, that has over 150 appearances in Spain, and not have to pay designated player money it may be one of his best signings yet.




Overall, it's an exciting move in my opinion, if it's real and happens.