Sunday, September 30, 2012

Speas, Vargas, Meram Shine in Reserve

Every so often I'll erase the commentary from my mind and just give players + (plus) and - (minus) marks during games. The mark can come from just about anything. On the ball, off the ball movement, a good run, backtracking, good cross, no-nonsense clearance. Hips, shoulders, jaw line, hair, body type, spacing, attitude, energy, communication, demeanor... Anything.

Today's Reserve Match between the Crew and the Union was a good one that ended up a 3:3 tie. Ben Speas, Olman Vargas and Justin Meram were the standout players for Columbus.

I came out of the match more convinced then ever that Olman Vargas is growing into a good Major League Soccer player. He is excellent on the ball and is movement and positioning benefit the whole team not just himself. It'd be interesting to see Arrieta and Vargas up top in Warzycha's 4-1-3-2 (Diamond MF).

The game comes more naturally to him then he probably realizes. He was playing in the middle today and by the 2nd half he was in control of it. Was it not for an incompetent ref getting in the way he probably would have had a 25 yd beauty on goal. One of his greatest strengths is the ability to cut through the middle with pace and with his head up. His effort is off the charts. His attitude is positive. Undersized but has a stout body type. This kid is good.

Taking on defenders and with the ball at his feet, probably one of the 3 best on the team. Meram was silky smooth today, probably the best I've seen him. Also, Meram can win the team games with more minutes. PLAY HIM.

• Warms my heart to see Eric Gehrig out there as team Captain. Part of me wants to see Gehrig start getting time at Right Back. Miranda can't play forever and Gehrig has the best long ball on the team.

• Kevan George was started at Center Back and it wasn't all that pretty.

• Saw Chad Marshall at the Krogers downtown after the Reserve match, told him he had a good game last night. No joke, felt like a kid seeing a hero or something.

• Lucky Mkosana for the Union ran the Crew ragged. Absolutely. He is a Zimbabwean Ivy League graduate currently toiling away in USL Pro. I would expect to see more of him in Philly.

• Aaron Horton came in on as a sub and seemed frustrated. He tried, a couple times, to draw a penalty in the box but was denied. After the match he blew apart on twitter stating “Don’t even love the game anymore," and "I'm done." I'll chalk this up to immaturity for now but it highlights a problem the Crew have... too many attacking players. Horton is caught between playing up top like Arrieta and on the right, like Duka, Renteria, Meram and now Birchall.

• Columbus should really try and retain Emilio Renteria next year (my understanding is his contract is up). The better teams in MLS have talented, MLS ready players on 1st team, 2nd team, top 18 and in reserve. It bothers me that about half MLS teams have a huge drop off after their top 5-6 players. Keeping Renteria would go a long way in fortifying the strength of the overall club.

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