Crew serious about US Open Cup fixture

When Steven Lenhart’s penalty
kick was saved in stoppage time Saturday against D.C. United,
it had no bearing on the Crew’s 2-0 victory.

A miss Tuesday could be lethal.

The Crew host the D2 Rochester Rhinos in a round of 16 match looking to
avenge last year’s loss at Rochester that went to penalty kicks after a
1-1 tie through regulation and overtime. The Rhinos prevailed, 5-3.

Crew backup Andy Gruenebaum was in
goal a year ago and is expected to start again. He welcomes the
possibility of more one-on-one challenges if necessary.

“There’s no pressure on me," he said. "It’s always on the shooter. I
feel for some reason I excel at that. Last year was the first time in
my career we’ve lost on a penalty-kick shootout. I guessed right every
time, they were just placed so well and we didn’t make ours. If it gets
there I feel very good about it.”

The Crew vow to take this year’s competition a little more seriously
after fielding a squad from the back end of the roster for the road
match last year. The travel, and the fact it was played on turf, left
Crew coach Robert Warzycha compelled to rest most of his starters.

There will be a different approach Tuesday, with a few who played
Saturday getting the start alongside some players with little or no
minutes.

“I see a mix," Warzycha said. "I don’t think you can put out there a
completely new lineup. We’ve got a game at home, so we’re very serious
about it. Even if it was a game away from home we would play to win, but
having it as home it’s much easier for everybody.”

Don’t expect injured defenders Frankie Hejduk and Danny
O’Rourke or Chad Marshall, who is ill,
to play. Left back Gino Padula will probably sit as well.

The back line may have regulars Eric Brunner and Chad Iro along with Jed Zayner and possibly rookie Shaun Francis, who has yet to play. Warzycha
could also put Duncan Oughton, Adam Moffat or rookie Othaniel Yanez in front
of Gruenebaum.

It will be interesting to see if rookie midfielder Dilly Duka makes it onto the field for the first
time after complaining last week about being on the bench. If he doesn’t
start he will likely be one of the first called upon.

Also, newcomer Leandre Griffit should make his debut after being signed
on May 13. Eddie Gaven will be one of
the regulars to start in the midfield although veteran Emmanuel Ekpo is expected to play a major
role.

Warzycha hasn’t decided if Guillermo Barros
Schelotto
will be available. Warzycha said forward Sergio Herrera missed
practice Monday to attend to a family matter in Columbus and will not
dress.

Lenhart might be one of the starters up top. Warzycha likes to shake
things up once in a while, so don’t be surprised if Gaven or Ekpo move
to a forward spot.

Warzycha said the Crew will not overlook Rochester with an Eastern
Conference battle against Chicago looming on Saturday. He sent assistant
coach Ricardo Iribarren to scout the Rochester-Pittsburgh Open Cup game
last week.

“You have to respect who you are playing against, Warzycha said. "It
doesn’t matter if it’s Rochester. It doesn’t matter of it’s a PDL team.
You have to go into the game with the right attitude.”

If the Crew advance, they could be home again on July 6 if the
Charleston Battery (USL-2) win at the Chicago
Fire
. If Chicago win, the teams will play in Peoria, Ill., on July
6.