With every new season comes new hopes, the hope of a championship, the hope to be competitive, or the hope to stay healthy through a whole season. These hopes are in the fans and the players. With that, the hardest working team in America, the Columbus Crew, open this season’s hopes in Colorado. Last year the teams split their meetings with both of the home teams winning. This is the only meeting between the two teams this year. I am sure all Crew fans will remember that Colorado knocked the Crew out of last year’s playoffs in a single elimination Wild Card playoff game. As I said in the preseason preview this is a bit of a new look Crew, however the formation looks to be staying the same. The Crew were literally washed out of their last pre-season game in the Carolina Cup and the only reason I bring this up is because this is where the final starting XI were going to be tested. Let’s take a look at the lineup projection.
GK-Andy Gruenebaum, as William Hesmer is still hurt
Right Back- Sebastián Miranda
Center Backs- Danny O’Rourke and Chad Marshall
Left Back- Carlos Mendes
Holding Midfield- Tony Tchani
Right Flank- Eddie Gaven
Left Flank- Dilly Duka
Center Midfield- Kirk Urso with Milovan Mirosevic playing behind the forward
Forward- Emilio Renteria
It looks as if the Crew are going back to the 4-5-1 that did not produce hardly any goals last year. This is defensive minded, however the back four can be disjointed at times allowing for early goals. There are a couple differences this year, one being the addition of Milovan Mirosevic. He should add some creativity from the midfield that the Crew were missing last year with the loss of Guillermo Barros Schelotto. I know that it seems that all Crew fans talk about is GBS but he was a catalyst in the midfield and on set pieces. Enough with the past for today. As I was saying, Mirosevic should give the Crew that missing piece from the midfield, creativity and goals. The next big piece that the Crew will need this year is to have a healthy forward in Emilio Renteria. If he could stay healthy for a whole season the score sheet should show different results.
It is hard to say what is going to happen this Saturday because the starting XI illustrated above have yet to play 90 minutes together. I want to say that they will go out there and score goals and have a clean sheet but I cannot. The funny thing about the Crew is they are not sexy like L.A. Galaxy or über popular like any team in Washington. They are not in a major market like New York but what does the Crew have? Moxie. They will go out and play every minute of the 90. They are the “Hardest Working Team in America”. You can never count them out of a match. This weekend look for Renteria to play high and as close to offside as possible. Look for the defense to close down and make Colorado work for every yard in the final third. Finally, look for the midfield to be creative and quick. If the Crew can get that creativity out of the midfield they should be coming home with a win and starting to make the hopes of the new year start out strong. That is the way I see it. Win or lose, enjoy the beautiful game and make today better than yesterday.
(image courtesy of thecrew.com)