Friday, January 18, 2019

Preseason Look: Columbus Crew

Here's an early preseason look at the Columbus Crew. The team, so far, remains largely unchanged from last season, which saw them comfortably in a playoff position for most of the year. As you can see, they are solid across the board. A testament to Gregg Berhalter's director skills.

It's interesting to see Pedro Santos at a 72, a team best. Fans directed a lot of bad vibes his way due to lack of performance. Some of that deserved, most of it not. If you watch him play, you can see the quality. Vision, positioning, passing, quickness with the ball. He has a lot of good attributes.

Something that will hurt Columbus come summer will be Zack Steffen leaving for England, but his replacement is a solid Joe Bendik (69). I would not be surprised if he got more games as the summer approaches and Columbus decides to keep Steffen healthy.

72Pedro SantosAM RL727570
71Zack SteffenGK717565
70Federico HiguaínAM C707769
70Jonathan MensahD C707169
70Gyasi ZardesAM RL, ST647370
70Justin MeramAM RL707266
69Joe BendikGK696964
69Gastón SauroD C706968
69Harrison AffulD/WB R647369
68Wil TrappDM667368
68Lalas AbubakarD C656968
68Milton ValenzuelaD/WB L687168
66Ricardo ClarkDM666766
66Patrick MullinsST666763
65Alex CrognaleD C646765
65Jon KempinGK646565
65Josh WilliamsD RC656864
64Héctor JiménezD/WB RL, M RL646764
64RobinhoAM RL, ST64067
64Eduardo SosaAttacking Midfield646664
64Luis ArgudoAM R626464
63Niko HansenAM RL586365
61Connor MaloneyD/WB RL596166
60Edward OpokuAM R536063
0Ben LundgaardGK5500
0JJ WilliamsForward000

A couple of other players to keep an eye on in regards to leaving are 
Wil Trapp (let's say, 30% chance of leaving) and Gyasi Zardes (51% chance). The latest addition to the team this year is Robinho, a mid-20s Brazilian midfielder. I don't have a lot of info on him outside a mediocre FM rating. I'm sure he was brought in to pair with Artur (whose name I misspelled in the graphic! but leaving it) a bit. Not just on the pitch but have a buddy off it. 

Another couple notes one what Columbus has going for them: 1. Their bench is strong and filled with MLS experience, and 2. Carry-over minutes from 2018 is a good predictor of success in 2019. 

I'm looking for Columbus to be a motivated side this year because of new ownership. While they've lost a good MLS coach, they've gained a stable one in Caleb Porter. I expect Columbus to finish closer to the middle of the Eastern Conference than last year, however.

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