Moving Past Warzycha

Technical director Brian Bliss steps in as interim manager
by Al DiFranco   |   Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Labor Strike – column on Columbus Crew & the Columbus, Ohio soccer scene.

COLUMBUS, Ohio. – After another disappointing night at Columbus Crew Stadium, the Columbus Crew ownership and front office decided enough was enough. Robert Warzycha, once a beloved Crew player and a man whose managerial career started with winning a Supporters’ Shield in 2009, was relieved of his duties as manager.

Warzycha finished his coaching career in Columbus with a record of 70-59-41, tying him for most coaching victories in franchise history. However, his squad failed to make the playoffs last year, and this season the Crew stumbled to an 8-13-5 mark.

What – and who - is next?

Any hope the Crew had of making a late run into playoff contention is now gone. The rest of this season will be used to evaluate interim manager Brian Bliss, to watch young players like Wil Trapp and Ryan Finley develop and monitor how much veterans like Higuain and Oduro want to be here with a managerial change.

Rumors are already circulating that former Crew player Guillermo Barros Schelotto, currently coaching Lanus in Argentina’s Primera Division, is a strong candidate to return to Columbus in the head role. GBS was MLS MVP in 2008 and carried the Crew to the 2008 MLS Cup, the franchise’s only championship.

He would be a popular choice with this currently disgruntled fan base, and his popularity in Latin America could encourage some of that region’s abundantly talented players to want to play for one of their homeland’s heroes.

For his part, Bliss stated he is also interested in the job on a permanent basis. He will have a chance to prove himself over the next few weeks, but Bliss was only given a few days to transition into this new role as the Crew take on Houston in Columbus on Wednesday.

Night of frustration

Saturday night’s loss was a bitter final pill to swallow for all involved.

Things looked promising early, as Ryan Finley drew a red card from Seattle defender Leonardo Gonzalez in the 7th minute on a breakaway. Seattle would play the rest of the match with 10 men.

The sellout crowd of 20,392 was in full throat, only to be silenced in the 15th minute when Eddie Johnson headed home a beautiful free kick from Sounders captain Mauro Rosales to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.

The Crew failed to threaten most of the night, frustrating the capacity crowd. In the 80th minute, Dominic Oduro had a pretty clear path to the goal on the left side, only to be denied by a Michael Gspurning save.

Federico Higuain’s absence due to his red card last match was felt most heavily off set pieces. The Crew had 9 corner kicks, but failed to get a shot on goal from any of them.

The Crew outshot Seattle by a 24-7 count, but only 2 of those 24 shots were on target.

NEXT UP: September 4 – Columbus Crew vs Houston Dynamo, Columbus Crew Stadium, 7:30 p.m. EDT, FOX Sports Ohio and MLS Live.

Al DIFRANCO

Nationality:
USA
College:
Ohio State
Club Domestic:
Columbus Crew
Club Foreign:
AC Milan, Everton
Passionate fan of the USMNT, Al is a member of the Cleveland Chapter of the American Outlaws. He also loves to follow and discuss Premier League and Serie A. Named his daughter Mia after a certain soccer legend.
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