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
A Vote for Schmid
by Ridge Mahoney, September 12th, 2008 11AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Confidential

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
Doyle departure starts crucial new era in San Jose    
With only two playoff appearances since it rejoined MLS in 2008, San Jose hasn't been able ...
Farewell, Hope Solo    
I have admired Hope Solo for many reasons. I've sent YouTube clips of Solo's highlights to ...
Struggles of MLS Cup finalists are to be expected for smaller-market teams    
Portland and Columbus defied the odds -- and economic reality -- by reaching the MLS championship ...
Olympic women's soccer: Our winners & losers    
Olympic women's soccer left the taste of what might have been. A USA-Brazil semifinal at Maracana ...
'Cagey' Swedes deserve some credit    
The USA women fell short of the semifinals of a major tournament for the first time ...
'Worst MLS signing' Lampard is tearing it up    
A great run of form earned New York City FC midfielder Frank Lampard Player of the ...
Assessing the middle third -- of the MLS season    
Coaches and executives often speak of dividing a season - much as they do of the ...
Schmid departure starts to clear Sounders' deck for Lagerwey    
Eighteen months after joining the Sounders as president of soccer and general manager, Garth Lagerwey is ...
Toronto FC must rebound after embarrassing defeat for crucial home stand    
After an eight-game road trip to open the season, Toronto FC is in a playoff spot ...
Quakes need to build on stunning victory    
Every struggling team looks for a spark, a turning point, a shift of fortune that transforms ...
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives