Monday, October 22, 2012

Crew News and Notes! (more just notes, really)

Only one game remains for the Crew but plenty of things hanging out there that are important and deserving of a post and / or attention but won't get it.

1. Coach Warzycha catching heat from fans.

Nothing new here but the argument against him is getting stronger. From my perspective, I see a team that is falling further down the table each year.

Year : Conf Rank : League Rank
2009 : 1 : 1
2010 : 2 : 5
2011 : 4 : 9
2012 : 6 : 10

In the offseason I'll dig in more but the above is really about all I need to see. There should have been more correction last year at the management level. Changing players (ie. FTEs in my world) hasn't changed the direction of this club. Crew Reserve team is good - Brian Bliss is finding talent, odd to see erosion on the table. Quick conclusion; Players ain't the problem, somewhere else.

1a. Be Massive Soccer spells out the direction Warzycha is going, expertly. Read it, he done write better more then me.

2. Eddie Gaven, Helltown Top 20

Mr. Gaven will end the season ranked in my top 20. It's not perfect, but I haven't changed my rating model since April of last year. Gaven is the only Crew player to get in the top 20 both years. On top of the impressive numbers he has put up, he has been the consummate team player through all the changes this year.

2a. Behind Eddie's 10th place rating in the league I see Andy Gruenebaum ranked 46th and Sebastian Miranda at 48. Josh Williams (80th) and Milovan Mirosevic (90th) round out the rest of the Crew players in the top 100.

3. Josh Williams, Overperforming

Speaking of my top 100 MLS player rankings... There are only three players making less than $50,000 in my top 100. Two San Jose players in Steven Beitashour and Rafael Baca then Josh Williams. The Median Guaranteed Salary of the Helltown Beer top 100 is $170,950 ($145,875 for Defenders). Again, I haven't messed with my model since last year.

4. Justin Meram, Gold

Of players with over 900 minutes, Meram ranks #47 in Goals + Assists pGM. Only three people in the top 50 here make less than $100,000 in guaranteed dunkets. MLS clearly values attacking players; Median for this group is $195,164.

While I'm at it, watch the two goals the Crew had against DC last Saturday again. Meram a huge part in both. Smart, skilled passes.

5. Paging Dr. Pepper

Crew DP Federico Higuain shows up right behind Alan Gordon and Thierry Henry on the Goals + Assists now because he has crossed 900 minutes, but it doesn't feel quite right. He was credited with an assist last game (dubious) but before that hadn't contributed directly in seven or eight appearances. Still thinking competition level has a lot to do with what we will see going forward with him.

6. Noise Again About Crew Move.

Don Garber again talked about the Hunt ownership group selling the Crew to fulfill his desire for one team, one owner plan. The goal is to find a local person(s) or group to purchase the club first so it stays in town. No word on that timeline though. I will say for the team to stay in Columbus it will have to be someone with passion for the franchise over making money.

I'm sure there are plenty of folks out there wanting to get into soccer in the US for under the $100 million expansion tag and I'm positive that more outside of town that would rather put the club in a market where more money could be made.

It's hard to imagine MLS without the Columbus Crew but Garber refuses to let it go. What other club get's talked about in this way? It almost seems predetermined that the team is leaving in the next 5-10 years. If so, I'll lead the charge to get a NASL or USL team the very next day.

7. Reserve League Champs

Congrats to Ricardo Iribarren and the folks who played lots of minutes on the Reserve team. Another 1st place finish. Special congratulations to Eric Gehrig, who Captained the team.

7a. Speas 18

Speaking of Reserves, good to see Ben Speas in the 18 on Saturday. I've watched way too much MLS for my own good over the past couple years... Speas can play at this level now. Should be interesting how far he can go.

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