Crew Chat*: Signings, Praise, Opportunities!

(*Which, if you think about it, could also serve as a Franco-phone alternative for “Crew Cat.” (Photographed at right, apparently, stealing a child.))

It looks like the Columbus Crew finally signed a new player…well, almost.  Gino Padula came on board…or, rather, will once he gets his visa situation sorted.  Is there anything to think about this?  Assuming Padula to be an upgrade over Stefani Miglioranzi (though I base this on nothing, certainly not Padula’s vagabond career – even if that came in higher-class leagues), one would think the latter will slide over to the subs’ bench?  Looking over the starting XI for the Crew’s final friendly, it’s hard to see where else Miglioranzi might go…though, on second thought, maybe he’ll bump Brad Evans…who may or may not have been out left…crap…can’t wait to see actual games.

– So, OK, maybe it’s not so great that a member of the Columbus Crew made Greg Lalas’ “New Faces in New Places” photo gallery/preview – after all, every team got at least one guy out there.  In any case, Brian Carroll made the cut for the Crew…and with some nice words from Lalas to accompany the shot.  For what it’s worth, I think Carroll will prove an upgrade…even if I think “a winning mentality” is a myth.

– Finally, and just to throw this out there, remember that Georgie Wilson Welcome guy whose name you heard so often when Honduras was on the field during U-23 Olympic qualifying?  Turns out he doesn’t have a club.  So, I’m thinking, he needs a club, the Crew needs forwards…just a thought.

Crew Preview: How, And How Well, They’ll Defend

For all the frustrations of the past season – missing the playoffs again, struggling offensively at the wrong time, etc. – I thought the Columbus Crew fielded a pretty solid defense in 2007. It turns out, however, the 44 goals they surrendered tied them for sixth in goals-against; middle of the pack sounds all right, until one considers 49 goals allowed set the mark for league-worst (Go Toronto FC!). So…remind me again, what exactly went right last season?

I kid. Middle of the pack is middle of the pack, so things could have gone worse. But with the Crew opening 2008 with one high-profile departure from the defense, the possibility things could go worse this year lurks. Marcos Gonzalez, rated by a solid majority as the Crew’s best defender, returned in the off-season to his native Chile. His immediate replacement – Andy Iro – is a first-year pro, something to watch no matter how his resumé reads. A clutch of second-year pros – Ryan Junge, Jed Zayner, and Andrew Peterson – will vie with Iro for that opening in central defense, as might midfield players like Danny O’Rourke, if some reports are to be believed (can’t find said reports; you’ll have to take my word for it…or just not believe me).

Given all that, how will the Crew’s defense fare in 2008? By way of an answer, I’ve named the players on the roster whose first job amounts to either defending the Crew’s goal directly or breaking up the opposition’s forays in midfield. I confess I’m not totally up-to-date on how Sigi Schmid will line up his team – and that’s whether in terms of formation or personnel – as such, what unfolds below amounts to a best guess as to what Schmid will do and the quality he has at his disposal. Continue reading

TSII: Crew Roster Talk – When Do You Stop?

Back from the little hiatus, time to get right back to it: Covering the Crew posted the latest full roster for the 2008-vintage Columbus Crew. You can check the post for names, details, plus more. I’ll steal his roster layout to frame the discussion, but I won’t borrow the commentary…that’ll come after the stuff I stole. Here goes:

Senior roster (17 of 18 slots filled)
Goalkeepers: Will Hesmer, Andy Gruenebaum.
Defenders: Frankie Hejduk, Chad Marshall, Danny O’Rourke, Ezra Hendrickson, Leonard Griffin, Andy Iro.
Midfielders: Brian Carroll, Duncan Oughton, Stefani Miglioranzi, Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Eddie Gaven.
Forwards: Alejandro Moreno, Nicolas Hernandez, Jason Garey, Brad Evans.

Developmental roster (10 of 10)
Goalkeeper: Kenny Schoeni.
Defenders: Andrew Peterson, Jed Zayner, Ryan Junge, Ryan Miller.
Midfielders: Robbie Rogers, Adam Moffat, Kevin Burns.
Forwards: Steven Lenhart, George Josten.

OK, so who’s new here? And I don’t promise a complete list, necessarily, but a useful approximation. Continue reading