Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Secret Formula: Columbus Crew Soccer Club 2015

Too soon? Never!

The Columbus Crew have already kicked-off the 2015 season with Black and Gold Rebrand 1.0 (Hopefully there will not be a 1.1 or 2.0). We are now CCSC-Columbus Crew Soccer Club. The unveiling of the rebrand was only a couple of weeks ago, and another step in formulating CCSC 2015 and beyond was spotted this week. Large banners with the name of a potential stadium sponsor could be seen hanging from the stadium's south fa├žade. Question of the day: What's a Mapfre?

If Crew owner Anthony Precourt is unabashedly redefining what Columbus Crew SC's branding/marketing will look like in 2015, then it only seems fair to take a look at what the Crew's roster will look like in 2015.'s the secret formula.

Current Roster (CR) minus Players Lost in December's Expansion Draft (PLED).

Subtract those players Gregg Berhalter and his staff will let go before the start of next season. Players Abandoned (PA).

50% chance that rumor about smaller MLS rosters in 2015 is true (25 roster slots).

100% chance that salary cap increases after collective bargaining in offseason (4.6 million total).

1000% chance that Columbus Crew add exactly three high priced players. (3)

1,000,000% chance that one or more of the above variables is FOS (FOS)

(CR-PLED)-PA=22    (22+3)/FOS=4.6 million

In order to simplify the incredibly complicated formula above, here's the list of players that will be protected in the expansion draft.

Frederico Higuain: Quality Argentine who can slot into new position when Crew add new players.
Ethan Finlay: Exciting young American player scoring goals and causing opposing teams to lose sleep.
Michael Parkhurst: Veteran defender. Solid building block in back.
Waylon Francis: Versatile outside left back.
Steve Clark: Goalkeeper. Fits Berhalters vision going forward.
Justin Meram: Goal scorer who, like Ethan Finlay, has another five or six years of quality left.
Bernardo Anor: Versatile, young, midfielder who can also play in back.
Tony Tchani: Center mid coming into his own. Another player with 5-6 good years left.
Hector Jimenez: Like Anor, can play multiple positions and has many years left.
Tyson Wahl: Proven center back. Becomes quality depth after roster additions in off-season.
Aaron Schoenfeld: Forward depth after off-season additions.

Second 11 kept after expansion draft (Some are homegrown players exempt from draft).

Will Trapp: Young Central Mid with still more to prove and improve.
Eric Gehrig: Good utility player.
Ben Speas: Central Mid depth and young.
Josh Williams: Hopes to return from injury and add depth at two or three positions.
Ben Swanson: Latest homegrown signing. Very young, but already training with first team.
Matt Walker: Young, unproven homegrown.
Matt Lampson: Back-up goalie with starting experience.
Adam Bedell: Towering forward who saw minutes early in 2014 season.
Kevan George: Sometime central back. Jury still out.
Chad Barson: Young, but with starters experience at marking back.
Kei Kamara: Veteran MLS'er. Could see 2015 minutes at two or three positions.

Three added, high quality, players who will command the lions share of the increase in salary cap space.
???: Forward who likes to combine with his teammates. 16+ goal scorer.
???: Center Mid capable of scoring 6-8 goals.
???: Young Center Back who meshes well with Parkhurst or Wahl.

Major League Soccer's probable switch to 25 man rosters is a good idea. This not only forces teams to start their own USL sides, but helps to put more emphasis on the academy teams. The Crew already have a good handle on promoting academy players. This should only improve.

I'm leaving Emanuel Pogatetz off my roster because he was a stop gap measure after the loss of Giancarlo Gonzalez. He is past his buy-by date and doesn't fit the Crew's personality. I am also leaving Romain Gall off the roster. Gall is a young player and the Crew have many young players in the academy system.

The bulk of the squad being proven players in their mid-twenties is rare in Major League Soccer. The veteran players around thirty, along with some promising young players and the 1000% chance that Anthony Precourt and Gregg Berhalter bring in three high quality players, drastically reduces the FOS factor. The FOS factor should fall from 1,000,000% to about 5000%.

2015's Columbus Crew Soccer Club should be even more exciting to watch than the 2014 version. If Major League Soccer gets the new salary cap right, and teams spend the new found money wisely, fans of MLS could very well see an unprecedented leap in the leagues quality of play.

Sadly, the WFK factor is racing neck and neck with the FOS factor. Only time will tell if the owners of Major League Soccer can stop the WFK/FOS race in its tracks. I believe they can, and will. I'm an optimist. How about you?   

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