Season Recap: Columbus Crew

Season Recap: Columbus Crew

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On November 12, 2009
  • 2009 Season Recaps, Chad Marshall, Frankie Hejduk, Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Jason Garey, Robbie Rogers, Robert Warzycha, Steven Lenhart
GBS helped lead the Crew to a second straight Supporter's Shield trophy. (Getty Images)

GBS helped lead the Crew to a second straight Supporter's Shield trophy. (Getty Images)

We all expected big things in 2009 for the Columbus Crew. Anytime you win a MLS Cup and retain the bulk of a lineup that got you that title you expect to repeat or come extremely close to do so. As we saw last week the Crew fell short of that this year as they lost to Real Salt Lake at home in the semi-finals of the eastern conference.

Still what can you say about this year’s Crew other than it was pretty much a carry-over of some sorts of the 2008 team. Robert Warzycha stepped in as Sigi Schmid headed west to be with the new Seattle Sounders club and things on the roster pretty much remained the same way with Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Robbie Rogers, Chad Marshall and Frankie Hejduk all there.

The Crew stumbled a bit out of the gate though with questions of if this bunch was really good enough to repeat. Columbus didn’t earn their first win until May, eight games into the season. But even with the lack of winning early on there was only a couple losses on the fixture table.

In the summer the Crew really turned things on. Schelotto looked like the MVP that we all knew he was and instead of assisting on goals like he did in his MVP season of 2008, he was scoring goals to help the Crew win games. Between June and August the Crew only lost a couple matches in league play while their CONCACAF Champions League play started off well.

Late in the year the Crew wrapped up their second straight Supporter’s Shield title, ensuring another birth in the CCL next year. While they did fall short in the playoffs they proved once again how a stable club can do so well in the league.

What Went Right In 2009:
When all key parts were playing things looked unstoppable for this group. Schelotto was a beast when he was fully healthy, Marshall repeated as Defender of the Year even though he wasn’t totally fit and other guys like Steven Lenhart and Jason Garey filled in nicely. Its hard to complain too much about a Supporter’s Shield type season like the Crew had but I know the way things ended left a lot of folks unsatisfied.

What Went Wrong In 2009:
Injuries played a big part in things that did go wrong. Some might also point a finger at Warzycha for playing it too safe in Salt Lake for the first leg of the playoffs. Either way this club was pretty gassed by the end of the season. Their schedule in the fall months between the league slate and the CCL group stage really left them on empty. They went from being one of the most dominate home clubs in league history to a team that lost three straight home games to finish the year (including the playoffs).

What’s Next:
Next up is figuring out who is staying and who is going. We know Philly will certainly pick someone from this club in the expansion draft and then there is the likelihood that Robbie Rogers will leave. What is bigger though is whether or not Schelotto will hang it up or not. If he returns along with other veterans like Hejduk and Alejandro Moreno then this club should have no problem returning to the top of the food chain. But at the same time they definitely need to go out and find some offense this winter. It was something that lacked all year and a reason why Schelotto had to pick up the scoring slack.