Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
A Vote for Schmid
by Ridge Mahoney, September 12th, 2008 11AM

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

The scintillating form of Guillermo Barros Schelotto the past two months has vaulted the Crew midfielder into the rarified air of those serious MVP candidates, yet with him likely to sit out this week's game against Toronto FC at BMO Field, his coach and his teammates get a rare chance to show what they can do without him.

It's about time Sigi Schmid rated more mention among the Coach of the Year frontrunners, and Crew management seriously pondered how it can secure him to a long-term deal.

Openings have closed in Dallas and Los Angeles, but there will be others, including a couple of expansion teams with high expectations, both internally and from their fan bases.

Columbus missed the playoffs in 2007 with a 9-11-10 record, its third straight failure to qualify for the postseason. It had finished last in the Eastern Conference in 2005 and 2006, and rising to sixth in a seven-team conference last year didn't count for much, as the team underneath was expansion Toronto FC.

But in 2007, Schmid landed Schelotto, Brad Evans and Robbie Rogers as he continued a makeover he'd started when he took over nearly three years ago, in October of 2005.

Last year, Evans played four games as a rookie out of UC Irvine. This year, he has four goals in 21 games. Rogers has cooled off after a torrid start yet the Crew is still winning.

During the winter, Schmid added a fleet of players who have contributed at different points of the season. A torn ACL in June sidelined midfielder Adam Moffat, but Emmanuel Ekpo has brutalized MLS opponents in his few appearances and in August he played for Nigeria's team that took silver at the Olympic Games.

Midfield anchor Brian Carroll, formerly of D.C. United, has played every minute. Gino Padula has had his own injury issues while battling for the left-back slot, rookie Steven Lenhart (Azuza Pacific?) came off the bench twice to score important goals and has three in just eight games (two starts), and monstrous (6-foot-5, 205 pounds) Liverpool-born defender Andy Iro is pushing Chad Marshall and Danny O'Rourke for a starting spot.

In August, Schmid wrested the rights to Pat Noonan away from the Revs to add yet another attacking element as well as considerable experience.

Schmid refuses to compare the Crew's talent with that of the Revs and points out, as New England counterpart Steve Nicol knows all too well, MLS is about the playoffs, first and foremost.

"If you are peaking when the playoffs start, anything can happen," he says. "That's what we're gearing up for. I know that's what Stevie is doing in New England, and what Dominic [Kinnear] is doing in Houston."

Those are two more candidates for Coach of the Year, along with Denis Hamlett in Chicago and Frank Yallop in San Jose. Yet Schmid has taken the best pieces of a poor situation, shrewdly added a few components, and forged a team that is strong in goal, good in the back, deep and potent in midfield, and capable up front.

He's managed a big-time foreign player in Schelotto, mixed youth with experience, revived the fortunes and confidence of Marshall, drafted wisely, and traded smartly. If Schelotto doesn't train very hard or Frankie Hejduk tries too hard, Schmid can handle it.

The Crew looks good for the long term as well as the next few months. Crew management might be wise to initiate long-term contract talks as soon as possible. A Coach of the Year award, not to mention a league title, would surely ratchet up Schmid's value and allure to an ambitious ownership group in Seattle, or a team that might decide to chart a new course, such as Chivas USA.

There's a great story unfolding in Columbus, but it's not all about Schelotto.

 



0 comments
  1. Frank Cebul
    commented on: September 12, 2008 at 4:06 p.m.
    Well written--good insight. After enduring all of the focus on the Galaxy, DC United, and Revs, it is refreshing to finally see some attention given to the Crew. I agree that Columbus needs to secure a long term commitment from Coach Sigi as an important step to break into the top tier of MLS teams and gain media acknowledgment.


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




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Confidential
Watching a gem being formed in the blink of an eye    
There's nothing like a good coffee joint with a long line to catch you up on ...
Record TV audience will be great, but it's still all about building base    
One of the big winners when the USA beat Germany, 2-0, in Tuesday's semifinals at the ...
Our MLS Best of June awards    
Who's leading the MVP race? Which goals stood out? Is there a favorite for Rookie of ...
USA rides talent -- more than luck -- into final    
You need luck to win a major tournament like the Women's World Cup -- and the ...
USA and Germany share hotel at Women's World Cup -- and much more     
The Women's World Cup participants have pointed out another way in which FIFA treats them differently ...
'Wow' moments are in short supply so far at Women's World Cup    
I am holding out hope for the 2015 Women's World Cup, but so far, I must ...
Five reasons I'm rooting for France    
France plays Germany Friday afternoon in the must-watch match of the Women's Women's World Cup. Most ...
A special moment for Robbie Rogers    
More than two years after signing with the Galaxy as the first openly gay player in ...
Women's World Cup: Ranking the final eight    
The Women's World Cup moves into the quarterfinals with two games on Friday and two more ...
Does Jill Ellis have the guts to bench Abby Wambach?    
I remember when Abby Wambach really impressed me. It was during the 2011 Women's World Cup, ...
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives