Despite Crew's progess, elimination will stand out

Columbus improved on '09 marks, but again lost in the playoffs

COLUMBUS, Ohio
– After the Columbus Crew were eliminated from the Eastern Conference semifinal
against the Colorado Rapids in a 5-4 penalty kick shootout loss, head coach
Robert Warzycha said that 2010 was an improvement of the previous year.

WATCH: Columbus, Colorado penalty kick shootout

“Last
year, we lost both games in the playoffs,” he said. “This year we won one, 2-1
at home, and we lost on penalties. That’s a step forward for us compared to
last year.

"Not only did we have more points than last year, but we were also
little bit fitter in my mind this year," the coach added. "But we’re not going to the second
round.”

Behind and to the left of the podium from where Warzycha delivered his postgame comments,  the was a silent Crew locker room. They had just won the battle (a 2-1 victory in
the second leg of the Eastern Conference semifinal to tie the aggregate series at 2-2), but ultimately lost the
war.

On
the other side of the tunnel and for a second straight year, Crew Stadium
hosted a visiting team celebrating a conference semifinal victory.

Whether
justified or not, Warzycha has a clear black and white perspective on the
season that has led him to the conclusion that Columbus improved in many areas.

Did
the Crew have more points than last season when it won a second straight
Supporters’ Shield?

Yes.
Their 50 points were one better and the second-most in team history.

Did
the Crew advance further in the US Open Cup than in 2009?

Yes. Last year, Columbus were eliminated in their first match. This year, though, they won three games before losing 2-1 in the final to the Seattle Sounders.

Did
the Crew improve in the CONCACAF Champions League?

Yes.
Columbus posted a 4-0-2 record in their CCL group and advanced to the
quarterfinals for a second straight year after going 2-2-2 in 2009.

And,
as Warzycha pointed out, the Crew did better in the playoffs this season. But, as in 2009, Columbus lead the second leg 2-0 and had an
aggregate lead in the series before ultimately falling to a lower seed.

Thus, for a second straight season, the one improvement that mattered didn’t
materialize: The Crew didn’t reach the Eastern Conference Championship.

Unfortunately
for Warzycha, that’s what will be remembered most.

Think you know the game? Test your powers of prediction with MLSsoccer.com's new fantasy game, Pro Soccer Picks. Play NOW!