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
Scorpions close in on Loons, Strikers get big win    
[NASL: Week 16] San Antonio kept alive its bid to win the NASL fall championship, putting ...
What They're Saying: DeAndre Yedlin    
"I honestly think the Supporters Shield is more important than an MLS Cup championship. In terms ...
Longshot Ticas counter USA with hot keeper    
[SCOUTING REPORT: Costa Rica] Costa Rica, the first Concacaf team outside of North America to qualify ...
Ream gets assist in Bolton Wanderers' victory    
[AMERICANS ABROAD] It has been another barren weekend for U.S. national team players abroad. Of the ...
An excellent goal-line clearance     
[VIDEO PICK: Off the Post] Cruzeiro managed to earn a 1-1 tie with Palmeiras thanks to ...
Woodwork can't hold down USA     
[CONCACAF WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP] About the only thing that stood in the way of the U.S. women's ...
Fire goes out with late win over Houston    
[MLS: Friday] Frenchman Florent Sinama-Pongolle made sure Chicago did not finish the MLS season with another ...
James' skills highlight Real Madrid pre-clasico practice    
[VIDEO PICK: Skills] The Real Madrid-Barcelona clasico delivers entertainment even before kickoff. Here's a 40-second peek ...
What They're Saying: Luis Suarez    
"Everyone has different ways of defending themselves. In my case, the pressure and tension came out ...
Ft. Lauderdale is ready for challenge against red-hot Eddies    
[NASL: Week 16] Minnesota United FC and the 2013 champion New York Cosmos played to a ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives