- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On February 23, 2009
- 2 Comments
- 2009 Season Preview, Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Rob Warzycha, Season Previews
Back to work this week here. Time to shift back into the season preview mode once more, this time turning our attention to MLS Cup champion and Supporter’s Shield winners from last year, the Columbus Crew. The only major change this winter was the coaching switch once Sigi Schmid bolted to Seattle leaving long-time assistant and former Crew player Rob Warzycha to take over the helm.
Can the Crew repeat this year? Time to find out.
2008 record and finish: 17-7-6, 57 pts., 1st in East, MLS Cup Champions and Supporter’s Shield winners for best overall season record.
Offseason Player Movement:
Incoming: none so far…other than draft picks.
Kevin Burns (waived)
Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC – Expansion Draft)
Ryan Junge (waived)
George Josten (waived)
Andrew Peterson (waived)
Ricardo Pierre-Louis (waived)
Brian Plotkin (waived)
Ezra Henderson (retirement)
Stefani Miglioranz (trade with LA)
Unsigned Draft Picks:
Questions going into 2009:
1. Can the Crew repeat the success that they had last year in 2009?
Easily the biggest question for this club going into the year is can they repeat? Right now with all the movement that has and in a way hasn’t gone on around the league this winter I can say the Crew are in just as good of shape to repeat as any club that has been looking to do so in years past.
Thing for Columbus I worry about going into this year is their depth. They didn’t lose too much in terms of guys who actually contributed to the title run last year but that Brad Evans loss could really hurt them before long.
Other than that the core of last year’s roster is still there and I just don’t see anyone figuring out how to stop Guillermo Barros Schelotto again this year.
2. Will they make any more moves to get guys in to add depth and improve the roster before the start of the season?
I know they’ve had a couple trailist in camp like former Colorado Rapids forth rounder Jordan Seabrook. But other than that I don’t expect the Rapids to bring too much else in before the start of the year. They got GBS back and signed on to a DP deal and also locked up Defender of the Year Chad Marshall to a nice deal which meant they pretty much didn’t have to do a lot this winter. I still would have liked them to get another striker to go with Alejandro Moreno up top but maybe one of the young guys on the bench can step up as his partner this season.
3. Who needs to step up and have a breakout season?
For me guys like a Jason Garey or a Stephen Lehart have to have a bigger year than in 2008. They were good fillers here and there last year but each need bigger years in 2009 than ever before. Both really need to find the net more often and make sure all the scoring duties aren’t on Moreno or Robbie Rogers.
Look at the 2009 Schedule:
Tough start with three of the first four on the road in places like Houston and Salt Lake. May will be a tough month with games out west in Seattle and LA, along with a trip north to Toronto. Games in the middle of those roadies in May aren’t any easier with visits from San Jose and Kansas City, two clubs that have seen success in Crew Stadium.
Thing about this year’s slate is everyone will give the Crew their best shot. I think June and July are two months that the Crew can either catch up after a slow start or start to break away from the pack. Plenty of win-able games at home and even on the road.
August threw the end of the year if this club is healthy I see them having very little issues with the remaining part of their schedule. Six games at home and five on the road, all should be draw or better capable results.
2009 Season Outlook:
Let’s face it, the Crew are the team to beat in 2009. Only a few clubs have really improved their rosters from last year and in the east things will still be tight. Columbus should still see their way to the top of the standings but I believe they do need to find a second scorer before the end of the year to balance their attack out more. It also wouldn’t hurt for them to add some depth in case of any injuries that will come on during the course of the year.
Getting to the playoffs shouldn’t be a big issue again this year and as of right now I would have to place them as a favorite to win it all again. While I like what other clubs have done this winter I still don’t know if they are good enough on the field to beat a club like Columbus. The chemistry this club has is unmatched in this league and that will go a long way for this club to repeat in 2009.