Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Crew's fluid attack swirls around Schelotto
by Ridge Mahoney, April 15th, 2008 10:12AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily



The Columbus Crew attack overran a vaunted Chivas USA defense last Saturday and rang up four goals - a mark it failed to reach in 30 games last year - to win, 4-3.

Guillermo Barros Schelotto earned Player of the Week honors with a penalty-kick goal and two assists. All eyes will be on him this Thursday when he takes on Marcelo Gallardo and D.C. United in the first MLS matchup of these Argentine veterans, former stars for Boca Juniors and River Plate, respectively.

Seldom in their 13 years of existence have these MLS teams borne many similarities, either in style or results, yet Crew head coach Sigi Schmid has adopted a somewhat D.C. persona to his offensive approach: with Schelotto as the focal point, he wants Alejandro Moreno, Robbie Rogers, Eddie Gaven, Nicolas Hernandez and whoever else joins the attack to interchange and figure out ways to carve open the opposing defense while covering vital areas in the attacking third.

"We let our guys roam about a little bit," says Schmid of a philosophy of letting his attackers work within a rough framework but rely on their instincts as well. It's not unlike how D.C. had played the last few seasons with Jaime Moreno, Luciano Emilio, Fred and Christian Gomez, who is now with Colorado. Having added Gallardo and Franco Niell, United hopes it can be even more dangerous and just as unpredictable. But somebody has to run the show.

"We let Guillermo dictate and so sometimes he's in the middle and Niko's on the flanks," says Schmid. "Sometimes Guillermo's on the flank and Niko's in the middle and Rogers was on one. As long as one of those three covers those three spaces, I'm okay with it. It's good to have those kind of choices and it's good to have that competition."

So far, Hernandez has lost the competition for playing time, with just 28 minutes of action in the Crew's first three games. The Crew have scored six goals: Schelotto, Moreno, Rogers and Gaven have combined for five goals and four assists. Also in the mix is Brazilian Guilherme So, who has yet to play in a league match.

In the season opener against Toronto, after Adam Moffat drilled home a long-range shot in the first half, Columbus sealed a 2-0 win when Gaven collected a ball in midfield and played a pass that fell perfectly for Moreno to finish off. In the Meadowlands, the Crew surrendered two quick goals and labored futilely to break through a massed Red Bull defense, yet still it cranked out 20 shots even though Schelotto came off at halftime.

Restored to the orchestrator role against Chivas USA, the former Boca legend set up Moreno for a go-ahead goal on a counter stemming from a Brian Carroll midfield tackle. Moreno played the ball to Schelotto, who held the ball to draw out keeper Brad Guzan and returned the pass for Moreno to shoot low into the net.

Schelotto reprised the sequence on the third Crew goal, this time setting up Rogers after he'd sprinted to keep the ball in play. Moreno played it to Schelotto, and Rogers beat the offside trap and slid a shot between Guzan and the near post.

With Schelotto working both sides as well as the middle, Schmid stresses effective use of the flanks as essential. Rogers and Gaven are nominally the flank players; Moreno can run the channels as well as receive passes with his back to goal, and like many modern creators, Schelotto prefers to start plays from wide positions, whether he serves from those spots or decides to come inside.

"We want to get a lot of attacking play out of our flank players so I think we're pretty flexible there," says Schmid. "Sometimes it looks like a 4-4-2, sometimes it looks like a 4-3-3, and sometimes it looks like a 4-2-3-1. It depends a little bit on the opposition and who's in form on a given day.

"We want to see Robbie higher more often this year, perhaps playing in conjunction with Moreno at times." Last year, Rogers scored three goals in 10 games after leaving Dutch club Heerenveen. He netted the third and fourth goals against Chivas USA.

Schmid wants consistency from all of his attackers to avoid the problems of last season, when Schelotto, through listlessness or zealous opposing pressure in midfield, didn't bring his best effort.

"It's great fun when he's up for the game, and he knows that," said Moreno after a Guzan error gave Columbus the winning goal on a Rogers shot in the 82nd minute. "We depend a lot on what he does and when's [he's] going from the get-go, it makes things a lot easier for all of us because he can find the passes that not many people in this league can find."


No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now



Recent Soccer America Daily
Video Pick: Carlos Alberto's wonder goal    
Carlos Alberto, who died at age 72 on Tuesday, scored one of the greatest World Cup ...
Video Pick: Sweet solo strike from Leipzig    
One of the reasons newly promoted RB Leipzig is only two points behind Bundesliga leader Bayern ...
U.S. Abroad: Big night for Americans in DFB Pokal    
Bobby Wood scored two goals for Hamburg, his first since the second week of the Bundesliga ...
Double DUII arrests add to Portland nightmare week    
In the space of a week, the Portland Timbers, the 2015 MLS champions, failed to reach ...
Newcomers debut for U.S. U-17s boys in pair of wins    
In their first games since Coach John Hackworth named the 32-player roster for the fall semester ...
Video Pick: A fowl field invasion    
A duck's crash landing interrupted a Bulgarian league game despite goalkeeper Nikolay Bankov's best efforts to ...
What They're Saying: Political science professor Fabio Wanderley Reis    
"People are not feeling represented and candidates like [Joao Leite and Alexandre Kalil], with very little political ...
USL: Nashville SC hires SUM exec Jeske    
Court Jeske, who spent eight years at MLS and Soccer United Marketing as vice president, international ...
MLS: Brad Davis joins vets who are retiring    
Brad Davis, a six-time MLS all-star and two-time MLS champion, announced Sunday that he will retire ...
NASL Rewind: Rayo OKC surges in playoff race    
With one week left in the NASL regular season, Rayo OKC, the Oklahoma club that in ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives