The Turning Point
I am always one to doubt, to see the shadows painting the corners. 2009 was a fantastic season by many measures, but I repeatedly saw quite a few shadows of doubt this past season for the Crew.
A winless streak to start the year set the early tone and my concerns grew. The team responded to the early troubles by steamrolling through the league in June, July, August, and September and squashed nearly every doubt I had about this team; a lacking offense, a number of players having off years, and an unproven coach.
However the sputtering performances in October and November started to grow those doubts again. The early exit from the playoffs confirmed that this was a team in need of some retooling. I still had confidence that the team would be able to transition with a minimum amount of problems because this wasn’t the Crew of old. McCullers had proven to be a steady hand as GM and Warzycha had learned from Sigi Schmid for three years.
After this week though, I am not nearly as confident. Schelotto’s contract negotiations are playing out in public and it doesn’t reflect well on the team. McCullers may be saying the right things, but it sure seems that HSG isn’t going to pull out the checkbook to keep Guille. It’s also rumored that Warzycha isn’t keen on keeping the Crew’s best player.
These are things that drive fans crazy. Perhaps a deal gets done so that Schelotto retires with the Crew, but right now the team is doing quite a bit to destroy the goodwill they have developed over the past couple years. Casting aside the MVP from last year and the 3rd leading goal scorer this year doesn’t signal that the team is looking to improve on the field.
With both sides using the media as part of the negotiations, it’s a little hard to tell truth from exaggeration. I, however, believe if a deal doesn’t get done that this will be the turning point for this team and it won’t be a good one. McCullers will face an uphill battle to market this team without the flashy talents of the Argentine. Fans will certainly treat Warzycha’s tactics and personnel choices with more skepticism.
It would be a shame to see the positive developments of the past couple of years start to regress over the poor treatment of one of the very best to ever put on a Crew uniform.