Crew find success by sharing scoring duties
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Crew coach Robert Warzycha made a wish after three games that his team would not rely so much on Guillermo Barros Schelotto for its scoring.
It’s debatable that his pleas are the reason the goal distribution has gotten better, but there’s no arguing with the results.
After Schelotto scored three of the Crew’s first five goals—Adam Moffat and Andy Iro had the others—he has had only one of the past nine, yet the Crew have a tie and four straight wins over the stretch to remain unbeaten (6-0-2).
“I said a few weeks ago need the goals from different players,” Warzycha said. “We need some from the midfield. We need goals from Robbie Rogers. We need goals from Eddie Gaven and different players.”
Steven Lenhart became the first forward not named Schelotto to score when his header helped the Crew to a 1-1 tie at Seattle Sounders FC on May 1.
A week later, Rogers scored his first of the season before heading to the U.S. World Cup camp, and Gaven also tallied his first in a 3-2 victory over New England. A third came via an own-goal.
Schelotto converted his second penalty in three tries this year for the only goal of the match against Chivas USA on May 15. In the past two wins the Crew got goals from Gaven, the second of the season for Iro and two from reserve midfielder Emilio Renteria to earn him the current MLS Player of the Week honor.
“We’re going to need every single guy on this team to contribute,” Gaven said. “It’s a very long season. We play our MLS games and later the Champions League. So far everything is working this year.”
The 14 goals have put the Crew second in average per game (1.75) behind Real Salt Lake’s 1.88 (17 in nine games).
That seven players have scored already is not uncommon based on the previous years. In 2008, when the Crew won the MLS Cup, they had 15 players with goals and 10 had two or more. Last season, 13 scored with seven getting two or more.
“I feel that’s the way it’s always been,” defender Jed Zayner said. “We’ve won the past two Supporters’ Shields getting goals from everyone. It’s nice that if one person isn’t hitting the goal much we have others guys doing that.”
Scoring by position is a little bit tricky because Gaven is usually on either flank, but he scored against New York while playing up top. Given that, the forwards have six goals while Rogers on the left wing has one and Moffat has the lone tally out of the center midfield. Gaven and Renteria have combined for three from the right side. Iro’s two headers off set pieces represent the defenders’ goals.
“If we continue to have scoring like that from all over the field we’ll have a good team,” Warzycha said.
Renteria has the only two goals from the reserves but the Crew has a knack for scoring late. Schelotto scored the second goal in the 86th of a 2-0 win against Toronto FC on March 27 and gave the Crew a temporary lead in the 82nd in the next match against FC Dallas that ended 2-2.
Rogers scored the winner in the first minute of stoppage time vs. New England and Schelotto’s 90th minute PK beat Chivas.
Renteria got the final goal during a 3-1 win over New York on May 20 with a solo effort off a turnover in the 83rd minute. On Sunday he headed in Schelotto’s corner kick in the 84th for the 1-0 defeat of Kansas City.
“If we’re not physically fit to make it through, we have the mental toughness to grind it out,” goalkeeper William Hesmer said.