2007 Record: 9-11-10 (6th in East)
Coach: Sigi Schmid (3rd Year)
Key Players: Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Frankie Hejduk
Key Pickups: Brian Carroll (from San Jose), Andy Iro (Drafted 6th Overall)
Key Losses: Ned Gravaboy (to San Jose), Andy Herron (to Chicago Fire)
2008 Outlook: Average
The Crew narrowly missed the playoffs in 2007, but probably would have made it had they acquired Schelotto before the start of the season. For anyone who is not familiar with Schelotto, I would recommend checking out his Wikipedia page. The fan who wrote it (and based on the poor English skills, I am going to go out on a limb and suggest a fellow Argentine, if not Schelotto himself) humorously describes how he took his “magic to teach the U.S. how soccer is played.” Though that statement is comically hyperbolic, Schellotto, who played for Boca Juniors for a decade, somewhat lived up to the hype as he led the Crew with eleven assists in 2007 despite only playing in 22 matches. As the Crew’s DP, he did what many pundits mistakenly expected Beckham to do: dominate.
The Crew’s fortunes in 2008 will again rise and fall according to the play of Schelotto. If you listen to the South American media though, you may think Schelotto is on his way out of the MLS. According to reports, Schelotto wanted to return to Argentina to finish his career. It turns out, it was really Argentina that wanted Schelotto to return, not the other way around. In fact, over 400 supporters from his hometown team even held a demonstration outside of his house. And we thought we were sports crazy.
However, in a recent Columbus Dispatch article, Schelotto maintained that he would stay with the Crew. That has to make Sigi Schmid happy, as he has one of best playmakers, not only currently in the MLS, but in the league’s history controlling his team’s 2008 fortunes.
On the defensive side, Marcos Gonzalez, Ezra Hendrickson, and Hejduk should continue to play smothering soccer. Up front, Alejandro Moreno and Eddie Gaven, who both had fantastic seasons in 2007, will have to step up to fill the void that will be left by the departures of Andy Herron and Ned Gravaboy. In addition, Robbie Rogers, who was a regular for the juggernaut U.S. U-20 MNT, was also acquired by the Crew last season and should be able to get more playing time in 2008. In only a few appearances in 2007, Rogers showed a knack for finding the back of the net.
The Crew should make the playoffs if Schelotto stays healthy and happy. If he does desire to return to Argentina though, Crew fans, preferably more than 400, may need to call the WGA to figure out how to organize a proper protest.