Due to time constraints this week, I was able to get HTIOT's questions answered by Patrick Guldan over at Massive Report. However, I did not get questions submitted for me to answer. So today's 3 questions will be an abbreviated version. Still, I think there is some good content for everyone to read.
As always, please join us tonight for our customary gamethread to share in the joy of beating down Columbus with other HTIOT readers. Enjoy, and let's go Fire! First question is next, and the rest follows after the break.
Hot Time In Old Town Asks Massive Report
1. How is Robert Warzycha's job security these days? I remember when Guillermo Barros Schelotto called him the worst coach he's ever played for. (via Rudy Gomez)
I hadn't actually heard that quote from Schelotto, but there had been rumors they didn't see eye to eye. Warzycha's place is pretty secure right now. The team is still in the thick of the playoff race with massive injury problems. The front office also decided to keep Warzycha after the roster shakeup of 2010 and extend his contract in August of last year. Unless the team was Philly or Toronto bad, the Hunt Sports Group is unlikely to pull the trigger. They tend to give coaches a long leash.
2. How many Crew supporters are you expecting to see make the trip to Toyota Park on Saturday? Will the numbers be anywhere near the exodus of fans to Columbus that is Firehouse East? (via James Coston)
Columbus won't have the 6 busloads that Section 8 brought, but there is at least one bus heading up. With the bus coming back immediately after the game, quite a few are going on their own and making a weekend of it. I'm guessing it will be around 75 to 100 people hanging banners, waving flags, and singing songs.
3. Are the Crew looking to make any additions during the summer transfer window? (via James Coston)
The Crew will get forward Jairo Arrieta on a transfer from Saprissa. That deal was made in April. The team is also pushing hard to bring in a designated player who can act as the offensive creator, but be a goal scorer on his own. The team's primary target fell through, but they are looking at several other targets, including an Ecuadoran and a couple of European targets. They are hopeful to bring someone in, but they won't break the budget to do it. I'd put the odds a deal happens at 50/50 given the type of player the team is looking for and what they are willing to pay.
4. The Crew sit at 5th currently in the MLS standings, 2 points behind the Fire. Do you think this is an accurate representation of the quality of the team, or are they "punching above their weight" so to speak? What do the Crew need to do to try to move up the standings as the season progresses? Where do you see the Crew finishing in the standings when the season ends? (via Ryan Sealock)
There certainly are flaws to the Crew, they don't have any consistent offensive punch. The goals have to come from whoever is hot. However, they have an outstanding defense. Andy Gruenebaum is taking his shot as a starting 'keeper and perhaps has been the best GK the first half of the year in MLS. Josh Williams has been a revelation since becoming a starter in April. The team hasn't missed Chad Marshall as Carlos Mendes, Eric Gehrig, and last year's starter Julius James has filled in admirably. The outside backs are one of the better duos in the league. Sebastian Miranda is the absolute definition of a steady veteran and Nemanja Vukovic has come in solidified left back better than anyone hoped.
If the Crew can get Dilly Duka back and Milovan Mirosevic and Olman Vargas can settle into MLS play, the offense may even come around. The Crew will certainly hang around a playoff spot with the defense they have, but if the offense shows any improvement, then the Crew are a certain playoff team. I expect to see them to finish in the 4th or 5th spot as they can't quite shake the injury bug.