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
Regular-season champ Crew eyes MLS Cup
by Ridge Mahoney, October 31st, 2008 7AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

[MLS PLAYOFF PREVIEW] If the 2008 Crew, winner of the Supporters' Shield, isn't all that different than the 2007 version that missed the playoffs, how can it be so much better?

"I can't speak for last year because I wasn't here last year," says midfielder Brian Carroll, acquired during the expansion draft in a trade with San Jose, who had claimed him from D.C. United. "But I would say it seems to be night and day, just the mentality that this team has going forward and our mindset going into each and every game. It's more strong and more confident this year."

Carroll said this way back in May, long before Columbus clinched the Eastern Conference title with weeks to spare, Guillermo Barros Schelotto topped the league with 19 assists, and the Crew set a club record by winning 17 games to set up a semifinal series with Midwest rival Kansas City.

"Toward the end of last year we took a couple of steps forward and the important thing is that we were able to build on those things," says forward Alejandro Moreno, who played for Coach Sigi Schmid in Los Angeles and has been a key attacking figure since coming to Columbus midway through the 2007 season. In 52 games (all starts) for Columbus, Moreno has scored 16 goals and registered 11 assists. Those aren't spectacular stats, but solid, and typical of players on the current squad.

"Obviously Brian Carroll has added a lot to our team and certainly now Robbie Rogers is a different player than what we was last year," says Moreno. "The important thing for us is that those young guys - Robbie Rogers, Eddie Gaven, Brad Evans - perform at a consistent level. We need them game in and game out."

Those three players have combined for just 14 goals, but added to Moreno's nine and Schelotto's seven, the Crew attack presents myriad difficulties for opposing defenses.

The Crew defense may represent Schmid's best work. He moved defensive midfielder Danny O'Rourke alongside former phenom defender Chad Marshall, and this odd pairing has revived Marshall's career and given O'Rourke a much brighter future. Stalwart right back Frankie Hejduk hasn't slowed down, and once Argentine left back Gino Padula recovered from two injury setbacks, his flank has seldom been breached.

This formidable opponent doesn't faze Kansas City, which sputtered through parts of the season, then won five of its last seven thanks in part to a rebirth of Argentina attacker Claudio Lopez and a tactical adjustment that moved Jack Jewsbury from outside back to holding midfielder and brought Davy Arnaud into a central attacking role.

Lopez is the perfect meld of guile, experience, and surprise to upend the league's best team, but only if the Wizards can contain Columbus. Joining veteran Jimmy Conrad on the backline are rookie right back Jonathan Leathers, and two other young players: left back Michael Harrington (second season) and Conrad's partner in the middle, Tyson Wahl (32 MLS games).

"Jonny Leathers is somebody who has really canceled a couple of really big threats in the last couple of games in [New England's] Khano Smith and [San Jose's] Darren Huckerby. We have a ton of confidence in him at this point," says keeper Kevin Hartman, who can certainly help his team by reproducing his brilliant days in LA, when he played for that Schmid fellow.


MLS EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINAL
Game 1
Saturday, 8 p.m. ET (HDNet, Direct Kick)
KANSAS CITY (11-10-9, 4th) vs. COLUMBUS (17-7-6, 1st)



No comments yet.

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




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
What They're Saying: Bobby Wood    
"Not a good day. First the loss, then the accident. Luckily no one was hurt. I'm ...
What They're Saying: Aleksander Ceferin    
"It will be part of the evaluation, and I am sure it will not help the ...
Sneak Peek: Real Salt Lake banks on new playmaker    
After missing the MLS playoffs for the first time in seven years in 2015, Real Salt ...
Sneak Peek: Crew collapse prompts big defensive changes    
American keeper Zach Steffen and Ghanaian internationals Jonathan Mensah and Mohammed Abu are among the significant ...
U.S. Abroad: Geoff Cameron is back in action at Stoke    
U.S. national team coach Bruce Arena got good news four weeks before the USA faces Honduras ...
What They're Saying: Dr. Gina Agredano    
"He just stopped breathing, and that was when it was game on. I said to myself ...
What They're Saying: Francis Kone    
"It has been four times. Once in Thailand and twice in Africa. I’m always checking the ...
Video Pick: U.S. beach keeper scores twice    
When the USA fell, 6-4, to Panama in the quarterfinals of the Concacaf Beach Soccer Championship, ...
Video Pick: How Bayern beat HSV 8-0    
For the second time in two years, Hamburg SV fell, 8-0, in to Bayern in the ...
MLS Business: Crew makes Acura jersey sponsor    
Columbus Crew SC and Acura reached a three-year sponsorship agreement making Acura the MLS club's jersey ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives