Columbus Crew 2014 Season Preview: The Known Unknowns

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“Look, soccer is messy…”

How’d 2013 Treat ‘Em: 12-17-5 (W-L-T), 42 gf, 46 ga; 8th in the East
Until I posted their 2013 numbers, I thought that the Crew had a better season last year. Maybe the belief from the 2009 era lingers because, in this context, eighth is a large ordinal number…it must been one of their 12 good days the couple times I watched them. Perhaps name recognition offers better proof of quality – i.e. beyond the guys listed under “Quality Parts” below I have to confess to not knowing much about the Crew’s other players. If I’m being totally honest, I fall four or five players short any time I try to name Columbus’ starters. It could be distortion brought on by highlights as well – i.e. when I think of Columbus, I think of Federico Higuain doing something pretty. Beyond that, I seem to remember them being tangled up in the late season scrum for the East’s final playoff spot – and that’s a positive, even if it ended with Columbus heading home early…and I just took a look back. And that’s how it happened: three straight losses down the stretch will totally do it. (Oh yeah, totally coming back now: their season ended with a home-and-home series against a friskier New England. Stings!)

Exciting Additions! – Michael Parkhurst, Giancarlo Gonzalez

Tricky Departures... – Eddie Gaven, Chad Marshall, Andy Gruenebaum

Quality Parts: Federico Higuain, Parkhurst, Dominic Oduro, Tony Tchani

It Gets Better If They Come Good: Bernardo Anor, Jairo Arrieta, Waylon Francis, Justin Meram, Daniel Paladini, Josh Williams, Will Trapp

What I’d Expect Based on the Above:
To start with the obvious question, what did the Crew do to improve their chances? Well, not enough last time I checked. As much as I like who they brought in on defense (Parkhurst, certainly; Gonzalez, probably), the Crew basically stood pat in the attack. And that’s with Higuain another year older. I have vague impressions of a lot of Columbus’ players (e.g. Williams=good; Meram=OK; Anor=OK), which don’t pencil out favorably, but there’s so much I don’t know. For instance, Will Trapp features prominently on their website, so I take him to be an important component of the master plan. How good is he? Not a clue, yet he could be the guy who changes their year or, say, does the necessary decisive thing in that wicked season-ending series against god-know-who. Other players could raise their game and make themselves familiar faces this year. It will take something like that, though, for the Crew to do something this season. They should be stronger in defense – the Parkhurst/Gonzalez pairing should be solid and that’s great – but it seems like they need to pick up their offense a little more.

2014 Season Opener: @ DC United, March 8

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1 Comment

  1. Pingback: 2014 Major League Soccer Season Preview Spectaularrrrr! | The Next 5-Year Plan

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