Thursday, February 16, 2012

Crew Preseason: Rough Stats, Clearer Picture

There are more than a few reasons to run a player out during preseason scrimmages. Biggest reason is probably fitness for senior level / first team guys. Other reasons being things like player evaluation, chemistry, just filling in for injured starter, etc.

With that in mind; I decided to sum up the minutes, goals and assists from the three preseason runabouts against Malmo (Sweden), U17's (USA), Seattle (Supersonica). I put it on Google Docs. It is to be taken for what it is worth, responsible reader.

10 things stood out to me:

1. Club isn't sold on Francis at Left Back. I'm not either, honestly. Hard for a guy his size to make it in MLS at Back. Difficult story with him in that when he finally got healthy they dropped Iro and moved Josh Gardner to the bench. Heavy expectations.

A 24 yr old Londoner with some Swindon Town experience named Kasali Yinka Casal is getting a good hard look. Lancelot Laing (Jamaica) is also getting a nice glare as well but it may be more of a convenience thing. He plays for Ft. Lauderdale (NASL).

2. Gaven, Miranda, O'Rourke, Hesmer, and Balchan saw limited minutes in the three preseason games but will be regular 1st team players. Balchan might be looking at a long year though. Nagging injuries.

3. Based on minutes and known injures and reports on the internets, I see the 1st team this way:

GK. Hesmer
D. Miranda, Marshall, Mendes, Francis
MF. Gaven, O'Rourke, Mirosevic, Anor
F. Renteria, Vargas

B. Gruenebaum, Heinemann, Meram, Finlay, Open D, Open F, Open MF

4. Dilly Duka will be in the first team but I'm leaving him off for now. Why? It will be hard for him to find time at club level if the US team makes it to London. The CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament starts end of March. The US has the easier group so I expect Duka to have very sparse duty with the Crew. Hoping it isn't a disruption when he is back in town, really.

5. Barring any more injury, the final bench D. spot will be fought for between Gehrig, Williams, and Perry (not looking to Balchan yet, injuries). In that order.

6. Open Forward sub will be between Horton and Speas. Speas carrying an injury and needs some experience. Horton will probably carry that spot.

7. Open MF. Not a given for Tchani. I see Grossman getting the same amount of time this offseason and getting a good look. Veeder has actually toped both of them over the three games with mins. And Urso is a dark horse here. I expect Tchani to take this spot. I'm pulling for him but the team needs a stable force out there.

8. I do believe that Ethan Finlay has earned a spot. 1st team right now. Has a couple assists to Tommy in the U17 game and has seen the same amount of mins as Marshall, Mendes and Mirosevic. Good group to be with.

9. Last one, promise. Eric Gehrig. I've really grown to like this guy over the course of last season. I could see the improvement. He also seems like a genuinely good guy. His versatility (CDM or CB/D) will probably keep him playing 1st team duty all year.

10. Just a round number I used. Ummm, Kevan George was the only player to notch a goal AND an assist in the first 3 preseason games. How's that? Ten worthy, I'd say.

11. Woops. Eleven now? Julius James. He's got some sort of shoulder thing. Seems like something that may keep him away from 1st team for months.

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