2015 MLS Season Preview: Columbus Crew
Twenty seasons of Major League Soccer are now under the belt for Columbus Crew SC. While they have emerged as a force to be reckoned with in the MLS, climbing to third in the Eastern Conference last season, Crew SC still needed to do a lot over the offseason to turn themselves into an elite team in within the MLS.
Did they pick up the right players to take that next step?
Jairo Arrieta, F - The Crew lose their former Striker as he declined to rejoin the team on November 18th. Although Arrieta lacked the speed that most coaches see as an essential trait in Forwards nowadays, he made up for it with his constant hard work and physical play. With Arrieta now headed to DC United, signs are pointing to Crew SC to switch to a quicker offense this year.
Bernardo Anor, M - The versatile Left Midfielder's role quickly shifted from the starter at the beginning of last season to after his injury being the primary substitute, providing valuable minutes off of the bench in 2014. He notched 6 goals last year, which doesn't seem like a lot, but is quite impressive given that he only started 18 games.
Josh Williams, D - While the defender took the backseat for most of last season, only starting 13 games, the born and raised Ohio RB looks to branch out and start a new path with the debut of New York City FC.
Hernan Grana, D - The Argentinian native makes his MLS debut this season, and could quite possibly emerge as one of the best defensemen in the MLS. Grana struggled most of 2014 in his play for Boca Juniors, but otherwise has a reputation of being a solid defender for the the last 7 seasons in Argentina's top division.
Kei Kamara, F - It's no secret that Crew SC's biggest hole is a big goal-scorer for the upcoming season. Kamara looks to be that fix, as he returns to Columbus for the first time since 2007 after a short stint for Middlesbrough in the English football league system, scoring 4 goals in 25 appearances.
Chris Klute, D - In what ended up being possibly the team's biggest steal of the season, Crew SC picked up Klute in exchange for only giving up 5 spots in the SuperDraft. They gave up their 14th spot in exchange for the 19th spot and Klute from the Colorado Rapids. Klute notched Rapid's Defensive Player of the Year award in 2013 and has gotten looks to play for the United States men's national team.
16-9-9, 3rd in Eastern Conference
Columbus Crew SC's pickup's over the offseason were great, compiling together possibly the best defense in the MLS. However, what Crew SC has in defense, they struggle with in attack.
It all comes down to whether or not Kamara will be able to provide the leadership and goals this team has been desperately searching for.