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Posts Tagged ‘Mark McCullers.’

Columbus Crew in a bad streak; playoffs slipping away

New Crew owner Anthony Precourt says he wants to get a good sense of the entire operation before making changes ( photo)

For years, the Columbus Crew were always one of those teams in Major League Soccer that could be counted on to have a winning overall record, a winning home record, a cinch for the playoffs and a contender for the league championship.

The 2013 season hasn’t been anything near the abovementioned statements.

The Crew are in the midst of one their worst runs on the losing side in team history.

With last weekend’s loss at Houston, Columbus has dropped six of seven games. They are now in unfamiliar territory of eighth-place in the MLS’ Eastern Division. They have fallen 10 points out of the final playoff spot with 12 games left in the season.

The current 1-6 stretch is the worst since a 0-5-2 by the Crew in the disappointing 2006 season.

Recently, the team was sold by the Hunt Sports Corporation to Anthony Precourt.

The new owner told the media at his introductory press conference a few days ago that he will not make any quick decisions on anybody in the organization. He wants to get an overall assessment of the situation.

Head coach Robert Warzycha, who has been on the hot seat all season with the fans, is in the final year of his contract. Precourt did indicate that he would be meeting with general manager Mark McCullers, technical director Brian Bliss and Warzycha to see where they can improve the team.

Slumping Crew has fans calling for Warzycha’s job, front office shakeup

Robert Wazycha (photo by Jason Mowry, courtesy Columbus Wired)

When Robert Warzycha was a player with the Columbus Crew, he was a fan favorite.

They appreciated his hard work and team player mentally.

When he became an assistant coach, everybody knew he was being groomed for the head job in the future.

His first chance occured when Greg Andrulis was fired during the 2005 season and Warzycha became the interim head coach. The team played better under Warzycha than it did under Andrulis. Rumors had it that several players quit playing for Andrulis and wanted him gone.

In 2006, Sigi Schmid was brought in and he led the Crew to the 2008 MLS championship. after that season, Schmid left to coach the Seattle Sounders and enter Warzycha as the permanent head coach.

Warzycha has been successful as the head coach, but the Crew have missed the playoffs twice during his tenure and are in danger of missing them again in 2013.

The 2013 edition of the Crew is inconsistency,  key players injured, can’t win at home, can’t score goals and are too young.

The Crew use to be tough to beat at Crew Stadium. That is no longer the case. This year they’ve dropped 18 of a possible 30 points at home with a record of 3-4-3. They’ve been shutout three times at home. And to make matters worse, they’ve lost a couple of games late, one during stoppage time.

They’re missing key players with season-ending injuries in Eddie Gaven and Glauber’. They’ve also been without Jairo Arrieta, who has been on International duty with his home country Costa Rica.

Warzycha’s job seems to be safe according to Team president and general manager Mark McCullers. The Hunt Sports Group rarely will fire any coach in the middle of the season, although they’ve done it twice before.

Warzycha is in the final year of his contract. There is a two-year option that the club can exercise at the end of the year.

The team’s play will have to improve to keep fans in the stands. If the fans go away, management will have no choice but to make a coaching change because after all, this is a business as we all know.

Commentary:Crew wants to be younger team; fans upset Schelotto, Hejduk gone

(courtesy of MLS)

The Columbus Crew said goodbye recently to several players by declining to pick up their options.

That group included Frankie Hejduk, Gino Padula, Duncan Oughton, Leandre Griffit, Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Jason Garey.

As a member of the media, all of these players were fun to be around and talk to. They were always professional and willing to help us get whatever information we needed to do our jobs.

Personally, the Crew really don’t need Jason Garey, Gino Padula and Leandre Griffit. Those three aren’t goal scorers and were basically role players.

As for Schelotto and Hejduk, I diasgree with the Crew on those two players.

The fans in Columbus and Ohio, come to the games to see Schelotto and Hejduk. Schelotto can score on anybody, any team and was most electrifying player and most popular player since Brian McBride, Edson Buddle and Jeff Cunningham.

In Hejduk, he was the team leader, captain and epitomized what the Crew’s term of “hardest working team” meant. He could score goals, but his job was to settle all the young players down.

When the Crew announced that they were severing ties with the teams top two leaders, fan reaction to me when I asked several folks were: “Where’s the goal scoring coming from”; Where’s the leadership coming from”; “the Crew are a cheap organization; “Robert Warzycha didn’t want Schelotto around” and “We won a championship because of those players. Why show them the door.”

General manager Mark McCullers says there are several reasons they have to do this. Salary budget cuts, an aging roster and the desire to play a quicker, more unpredictable style are the main reasons. They want more team speed and better one-on-one defending.

The management did say that they’ll try to re-sign Griffit at a lower salary. He did show promise in limited duty when he joined the team in mid-season.

Head coach Robert Warzycha says that all MLS teams are used to the way the Crew plays now. They have to have more team speed and be more dangerous and not only score off set pieces which the Crew were really good at for several years.

My only question is, where will the scoring come from even if the team gets quicker and plays more uptempo. You still have to have someone who is a threat to score every time down the field. It seems like the Crew will fall back into the ‘having trouble scoring’ mold they suffered when Brian McBride left to play overseas.

Technical director Brian Bliss says the Crew can improve by acquiring players from the international market, MLS SuperDraft and homegrown talent.

Another question. Can they find another goal scorer and a leader like Schelotto and Hejduk? The 2011 season will tell!

compiled from staff & Columbus Crew news