Rentería out for Crew vs. Chivas USA

Heinemann likely starting again against Chivas USA

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Not only will the Columbus Crew play visiting Chivas USA on Saturday (7:30 pm ET, Direct Kick, MatchDay Live)
attempting to break a 203-minute goal-less streak, but they will have
to do so without their only player to have found net in the last five
matches.

Forward Emilio Rentería suffered a left quadriceps strain in last
week’s 1-0 loss at Portland and has been ruled out indefinitely.

That’s bad news because his team-leading four goals (two via penalty
kicks) are the lone tallies for the Crew since Robbie Rogers’ goal in
the 53rd minute against Sporting Kansas City on April 16.

The Crew (3-3-4) have been blanked four times, including a 0-0 tie at
Chivas on April 9, and have tried several combinations to unlock an
offense whose eight goals are tied with Philadelphia for the fewest in
MLS.

Tommy Heinemann made first start alongside Rentería against the Timbers
and was Columbus’ most dangerous player in the 4-4-2 formation that was
somewhat of a departure from the usual single-striker scheme.

Coach Robert Warzycha said even without Rentería, the two-forward
system might be used Saturday, but that’s not really much of a change
than the 4-5-1 with Dilly Duka playing behind a lone attacker.

“If you look at the Portland game, on paper we played with two
forwards, but Emilio was playing the same way as Dilly had played,”
Warzycha said. “He was right in the middle. Tommy was high. Did we have
two forwards? Yes. But they played the same way. With Tommy being fit
and aggressive maybe we can squeeze some scores out of him.”

Based on Thursday’s practice, Heinemann could be paired with Jeff
Cunningham, who has played only 71 minutes since starting the season
opener. If that’s case, then Designated Player Andrés Mendoza will be on
the bench as the Peruvian continues to struggle in his first full MLS
season.

“No matter how good a quality player you are, it’s difficult to adjust to a new league and a new lifestyle,” Warzycha said.

Mendoza’s lone goal in seven games (three starts) was a penalty against
FC Dallas on April 1. He heads a list of players who need to step up
their game.

Midfielder Eddie Gaven is Mr. Reliable and can play any position across
the midfield as well as forward but like Mendoza, his only score game
in the Dallas game.

He had three goals last season but none in the final 20 matches. Gaven
was invaluable in 2009 as a secondary scorer with six goals but in the
present circumstances is needed to score more, especially since he is
handling almost all of the set pieces after the departure of Guillermo
Barros Schelotto.

The Crew would like to get more production out of midfielder Rogers,
too. They hope it starts Saturday, because he could miss all of June’s
MLS slate while with the US national team at the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Rogers rebounded from a poor 2010 (one goal) with a good start, but
lately has not been effective. He has two goals and an assist but no
points since April 16.