First Chapter of the New Era Closes Early For Columbus

Columbus was in search of a new era, but it's going to take a little more work to find it
by Nino Torres   |   Wednesday, November 12, 2014

John Hefti Photography - Columbus Crew, Labor Strike, MLS, SoccerNewsday

The Columbus Crew had a goal: Reach the playoffs. They achieved it. They were aiming for that fifth spot that was so elusive for the past 2 seasons. They climbed up to the Third place in the Eastern Conference thanks to an impressive fifth teen game run where they only lost two times. Then they faced the New England Revolution and all the hype around the Black & Gold was shut down with round trip defeats.

After the game was over at Gillette Stadium, Columbus Crew Head Coach Gregg Berhalter said he was happy with the effort. And he should be. Because that’s exactly what this season was for this team: pure effort. They are not the most talented team in the League, but they surely worked hard enough to be above the thin red line. But once the Playoffs starts, it’s a different level and The Crew is not there… yet.

“I like how the team developed and we are going to keep getting better. I think there has to be a commitment in the offseason to improve, and we’ll add some pieces. The players will put the work and come back a better team than we were this year,” Berhalter said.

2014 was a development episode for Columbus. The players embraced the new system brought by Berhalter and executed it according to their skills and in some cases (Justin Meram, Tony Tchani and Ethan Finlay) above and beyond expectations. But still, this roster is not a heavy weight.

After and outstanding performance with Costa Rica in the World Cup, The Crew sold Central defender Giancarlo González to Palermo. His absence was inadvertent during the winning streak, but the team missed him, a lot, in the Playoffs.

2015 hasn’t even started, and the Club already signed Emanuel Pogatetz, Ben Swanson, Mohammed Saeid and Kei Kamara. Although Pogatetz was the only one eligible to play this year. And I’m not sure why, but in a recent report from MLSsoccer.com the Crew is still scouting Mix Diskerud, another midfielder.

Without these additions, the team was able to play attractive soccer. Attractive enough to set an all-time season record of sellouts at Crew Stadium with five games. The fans sensed the club was going in a different direction than it used to, and they showed up their support.

The offseason started earlier than they expected, and now it’s time to review contracts, evaluate performances thru ought the year. It won’t be a “clean out the house” scenario that will witness; This is more like a “home renovation” type.

Players probably won’t be with the team in 2015: Eric Gehrig, Tyson Wahl, Agustín Viana, Jairo Arrieta.

The Black & Gold will officially open next season as Columbus Crew SC a new brand of soccer ready to write a second chapter with a few more pages that include playing in December.

Nino TORRES

Nationality:
Peru
College:
Universidad de Piura
Club Domestic:
Columbus Crew
Club Foreign:
MUFC
A natural born winger who landed in Buckeye country and is getting ready for 2018 by learning Russian, because he'll be there for the next World Cup. Spasibo! Currently in his fourth season covering The Crew.
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