Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
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
Onus on Schelotto and favored Crew
by Ridge Mahoney, November 7th, 2008 7AM

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

[MLS PLAYOFF PREVIEW] Only four of 12 MLS regular-season champions have lifted MLS Cup, so whatever euphoria Columbus players may have felt last week after substitute Steven Lenhart scored a last-minute goal to tie the first leg, 1-1, against Kansas City had best be long gone.

Otherwise the Crew, runaway winner of the Eastern Conference, could be upset Saturday in the second leg by a Wizards team that has lost only once in the last eight games yet has failed to beat Columbus in four meetings this season. On the other hand, Columbus scored eight goals (2-1, 3-0, 3-3) in the regular-season games but labored scoreless for 92 minutes until Lenhart struck during a goalmouth scramble.

The Crew is much stronger on the flanks, so unless Kansas City can neutralize midfielders Robbie Rogers and Eddie Gaven and somehow leash right back Frankie Hejduk, midfield control will be wielded by Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Brian Carroll. Depriving catalysts Claudio Lopez and Davy Arnaud of possession will stifle the Wizards' attack, no matter the health of speedster Josh Wolff, who missed the first leg with a fibular stress reaction and is doubtful for the rematch.

Kansas City will definitely be without Herculez Gomez, who is suspended for a wild tackle on left back Gino Padula last week. Padula's steady, confident support on the left flank has prompted more consistent team performances that has translated into better opportunities for Schelotto and striker Alejandro Moreno.

Both teams usually play with four in the back; Chad Marshall was named MLS Defender of the Year, yet the Crew conceded only three goals fewer than the K.C. contingent anchored by the rugged and experienced Jimmy Conrad. Despite finishing 15 points ahead of fourth-place Kansas City in the standings, if the Crew can't score early and gets jittery as the game tightens up, it could fall prey to one spectacular play.

When the Crew acquired Schelotto early in 2007, Coach Sigi Schmid praised a competitive fire honed by dozens of critical matches played for Boca Juniors. In his first home MLS playoff appearance - the Crew didn't make the postseason last year - Schelotto will be aggressively hounded by a pack of opponents led by defensive midfielder Jack Jewsbury every time he touches the ball. That duel will be just as important to the outcome as how well Carroll and Co. fare with Lopez, Arnaud, and whoever plays up front for Kansas City.

He led the league with 19 assists and is a finalist for league MVP honors, yet it is in this game Schelotto must prove his true value.

(A reminder: there is no increased value applied to away goals, so if the teams finish regulation and overtime tied in total goals, the series will be decided by penalty kicks.)

EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS, Game 2
COLUMBUS vs. KANSAS CITY
(1-1)
Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET (HDNet, Direct Kick)



No comments yet.

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




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Where to Watch European Soccer    
Here are 329 places Soccer America readers recommend where you should go to watch soccer for ...
Soccer America Men's Top 25    
[COLLEGE RANKINGS] Defending champion Notre Dame is back on top in the Soccer America Men's Top ...
Soccer America Women's Top 25    
[COLLEGE RANKINGS] Despite its 1-1 tie at Arizona State, defending champion UCLA held on to the ...
Mario Goetze's beautiful backward nutmeg on Brecko    
[VIDEO PICK: Skills] Mario Goetze, Germany's World Cup final hero, not only has a nose for ...
This season's most amazing free kick so far    
[VIDEO PICK: Golazo] You can hardly blame Hamburg SV goalkeeper Jaroslav Drobny for remaining rooted to ...
Soccer America Power Rankings    
[MLS: Week 29] Robbie Keane ran wild in the major-market matchup of Designated Players to keep ...
What They're Saying: Landon Donovan    
"I've always tried to be a guy who makes the right play in front of the ...
Onus on Cavani for PSG against Barcelona    
[UCL: Three Games to Watch] Paris St. Germain-Barcelona is the marquee match of Matchday 2 in ...
What They're Saying: Paul McGinley    
"I bounced ideas off him all week, he didn't preach to me, he didn't tell me ...
MLS's nouveau riche dominate millionaire club    
[MAKING A LIST] Big money has been flowing into Major League Soccer. Of the 15 players ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives