Thursday, March 27, 2008

Projected Starting Lineups: Columbus Crew

Projected Starting Lineup:

--------------Moreno----------N. Hernandez--------------

-------------------Barros Schelloto------------------------





Coming off the bench: GK Andy Greunebaum, DF Andy Iro, FW Jason Garey, MF Duncan Oughton, MF Adam Moffat, DF/MF Stefano Miglioranzi, MF/FW Brad Evans

The Crew lost some young talent this year in Kei Kamara and Tim Ward, but Sigi Schmid is bullish enough on the development of his other youngsters that he enters the season with little regret. Englishman and 2008 SuperDraft pick Andy Iro is set to see a lot of time in central defense, while Robbie Rogers and Adam Moffat have been the cream of the crop for the Crew this preseason. Add Eddie Gaven - who is still young as hell - and you got yourself a young midfield getting a little better with every season past.

A little turnover in the back has made the Crew a bit stronger. Gino Padula's transfer was confirmed and he is a big question mark as I have seen him labelled as a "fan favorite", but in the same breath an "utter joke". On the right side of the field, captain Frankie Hejduk will most likely start but Miglioranzi is certainly another option. In the center Chad Marshall can be a force but if only if he can avoid the concussions. Danny O'Rourke - a pint-sized scrapper - will man the central defense with Marshall or Iro (both big boys). He might even sit a little higher than Marshall allowing them two defensive midfielders at times - along with Brian Carroll - to spray long balls on the counter.

And that should be an option with the pace of their wings. Robbie Rogers, Brad Evans, and Eddie Gaven all have the significant pace needed to trouble even the best MLS defense. What is needed is consistency, which a playmaker like Schelloto can give - provided he doesn't spend his season dreaming about Gimnasia. Their last of line of defense is serviceable. Andy Gruenebaum spent a good portion of last year in the spotlight with his run of shutouts and overall inspiring play. Will Hesmer has been pegged as the next Marcus Hahnemann. Gritty, not awe-inspiringly athletic, but he has good command of the area and the ability to organize an above-average backline.

Overall, the addition of a quality striker - like the rumoured Maciej Zurawski - could have pushed the Crew over the hump of mediocrity. Apparently, the Hunt ownership group are still in interested in exploring the DP option and that might be the direction the Crew need to go to revisit their one glory year. I can't see that deal getting done this year though, which means another subpar year for the Columbus faithful.

Outlook: 6th in the East

1 comment:

The Manly Ferry said...

Nice new digs, man. Figured I'd drop a "hello" line in an appropriate place.