The Side: Arrr matey! It is I, Captain Yank, and I am here to regale you salty seadogs with some scenes from the story of the bearded brethren known as the Columbus Crew. This team has plundered many opponent’s nets over the last two years and they have found bountiful booty, the 2008 MLS Cup and the 2008 and 2009 Supporters Shields. Can they make it a three peat in 2010? Well if they do, it won’t be a parrot they have on their shoulder, but a turkey. Three in a row would be a historic feat, but will the team have enough talent left to compete with the rest of the best?
The Pride: The core of this team is tremendous, and the leadership and confidence many of the players exude is flat out unparalleled. First of all, Guillermo Barros Schelotto is probably still the league’s premier player despite his ever increasing age (and I am including Donovan). On defense, Chad Marshall and Frankie Hejduk are two of the league’s stingiest stars. Plus, the team has some of the best young talent in the league with Robbie Rogers and Emmanuel Ekpo, who I think of as the MLS version of the “Nigerian Nightmare.” That kid can play, he just needs to keep his head.
The Guide: In addition to their three recent trophies, the Crew also hoisted the 2004 Supporters Shield and the 2002 US Open Cup. Thus, they are one of the more decorated teams in MLS history, and definitely the most decorated over the last two years. Will they be able to continue their run of riches in 2010 by raping and pillaging the rest of the league? I wouldn’t bet too much booty on it. In fact, I bet they have their first year without hoisting hardware since 2007. I put the odds of them winning one of the “Big Three” (Shield, US Cup, MLS Cup) at th-arrrrr-teen to one (13:1).