Crew ready to rebuild without Schelotto

  Guillermo Barros Schelotto (ISIPhotos.com)

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

When the Columbus Crew won the 2008 MLS Cup Final, it had a deep and strong team that many believed could potentially become a dynasty.

Two years later, that MLS Cup remains the only championship won by the club, with two straight first-round playoff exits forcing the Crew to consider making major changes.

Those changes are set to be made now as the Columbus Dispatch reported on Monday that the Crew planned on not exercising the contract options of Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Frankie Hejduk, Gino Padula and Duncan Oughton.

"Today the coach told me he wanted to make the team young," Schelotto told the Dispatch on Monday. "They have made the decision."

 By parting ways with Schelotto, the Crew is saying goodbye to arguably the most influential player in the club's history, the player who led the Crew to that 2008 MLS Cup title. A player who once again led Columbus in goals and assists this season.

What is next for Schelotto? It is looking like a move to another team in MLS.

Schelotto is expected to be made available in the league's new re-entry draft next month, meaning MLS clubs will have the option of signing him at his Designated Player-level option year. If all teams pass, Schelotto could be re-signed by MLS to a smaller deal, and go into another re-entry draft.

Long story short, Schelotto should be back in MLS and there should be several teams lining up for his services.

Who exactly? Here are some possibilities:

D.C. UNITED- With Jaime Moreno departing, the club could certainly use Schelotto's skill and playmaking ability. Imagine a Schelotto-Juan Pablo Angel pairing in D.C.

HOUSTON DYNAMO- The club needs an attacking spark and Schelotto could fit right in. This is assuming the Dynamo don't already have a playmaker lined up, which some rumors suggest they do.

CHIVAS USA- The Goats need plenty, but a playmaker is at the top of that list. Would Chivas USA spend the money to make it happen, or if the team's new coach will want Schelotto.

NEW YORK RED BULLS- It's probably unlikely, but the idea of having Schelotto setting up Thierry Henry and Juan Agudelo and working with Rafa Marquez would be special.

—-

As for Columbus, the Crew can't be blamed for wanting to turn to youth, but the team absolutely better have a replacement for Schelotto on the radar because a Columbus team without him in 2011 isn't going to come close to challenging for MLS Cup, or beating Real Salt Lake in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.

Here is what Columbus can look like minus the veterans it is cutting loose:

———-Mendoza———Lenhart—————-

Rogers—————————————Gaven

—————–Carroll—-Ekpo——————-

Francis——-Marshall—–O'Rourke—–Brunner

———————Hesmer————————-

That isn't a bad squad, but one clearly in need of either a top striker or playmaker.

What do you think of the Crew's decision? Where would you like to see Schelotto wind up?

Share your thoughts below.

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68 Responses to Crew ready to rebuild without Schelotto

  1. Brian says:

    I wonder if Frankie will retire

  2. hardhead says:

    Its sad to see GBS leave Columbus–along with all the other vets. The team leaders will be much younger next year, and hopefully that doesn’t lead to years of rebuilding.

    With this loss, the Crew needs to add depth on the back line as well as inject something into the attack–especially an attacking center midfielder. One critique of your lineup: I think Renteria showed at the end of this season before his knee surgery that he should start up top over Mendoza and Lenhart. We’ll see how it shakes out in the off season, but I can imagine Renteria-Mendoza playing together up top with a new ACM and Rogers/Ekpo/Gaven at the wings.

  3. BSU SC says:

    I’d love to see Schelotto either in New York or in D.C. with JPA. Where ever Guillermo goes, he needs to go to a team that is ready to challenge for a title immediately.

  4. Aaron in StL says:

    Re-entry draft? That is just bogus.

  5. RK says:

    Hedjuk doesn’t age, so he wouldn’t retire unless he wanted to start his pro surfing career.

  6. dman says:

    Frankkky nooooo…. I Know he’s old but he’s been the pride of the crew for a few years now

    I’ll always remember him on the back of a truck bed tailgating with crew fans before the galaxy game (he was out via cards)

  7. .ORG says:

    Retire dude. you’re 37. Become a coach or join the marketing business for the Crew or some exec for MLS and tell them how to get cheaper players from the south

  8. CILII_blog says:

    Lenhart really? That dude has done nothing but miss chances and pick up yellow?

    Anyone know the contract status for Emilio RenterĂ­a?

  9. fischy says:

    I’m guessing the league will take a pass on GBS at his DP-level salary. DC could definitely use him, but they lack the funds even if they were inclined to risk a DP slot on him. That said, I’d be thrilled to have a transition year for DC with a GBS-JPA tandem. Angel isn’t that effective these days, but the tandem could make each player look better. On the other hand, if those two old guys could combine and tear up the league, it would also show the league has a long way to go.`

  10. Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

    He’ll end up with Arena in LA. Finally getting back to the waves.

  11. djs says:

    As a Crew fan, I have very mixed feelings about this turn of events. I’m not really surprised — there had been rumblings for some time that the Crew weren’t willing to bring Schelotto back for another year… probably a combination of fiscal parsimony, the sometimes contentious relationship between Warzycha and Schelotto, and GBS’s notorious indifference to defensive responsibilities.

    Cutting loose GBS, Hejduk, Padula, and Oughton now probably makes sense — all are getting very long in the tooth; Hejduk and (especially) Padula struggled with injuries this year and missed quite a bit of time; and Oughton is strictly a bit player at the end of the bench. However, the departure of GBS and Heydude (who was the team captain) means the franchise is losing its two most recognizable figures, leaders, and fan favorites (and Oughton is a big local fan fave as well). It’s time for the likes of Marshall, Rogers, and Gaven to step up as team leaders — but I wonder how the fanbase will react and attendance will be affected in a market with lukewarm (at best) support.

    I’m also worried about where the offensive creativity is going to come from without GBS. Yes, there’s plenty of talent left on the roster, but whenever GBS didn’t play (and he ALWAYS wanted to play — it was a definite bone of contention this year after last season’s playoff fiasco) the Crew seemed completely bereft of ideas and offensive punch. Gaven, Rogers, and Ekpo provide plenty of midfield speed and strong wing play — but everything seemed to flow through GBS; without him, the play was pretty direct and easy to shackle. Ives is aboslutely right — the Crew have to find a significant replacement. While Mendoza and Renteria have shown quite a bit of potential up front, and Lenhart and Garey are useful worker bees, without a dynamic offensive force along the lines of GBS, Morales, or Ferreira, there’s no way the Crew are a playoff team next season.

    Re Ives projected lineup, I’d be curious to see what Mendoza and Renteria could do paired together. Also, Brunner is more of a central defender; it will be interesting to see who Warzycha prefers as Marshall’s partner between Brunner and Andy Iro. He started Marshall and Iro together a good chuck of last season, including the first leg of the Colorado series, but Brunner replaced Iro for the second leg after Cummings torched Iro with his speed. Prior to his trade to DC, Jed Zayner was Heydude’s backup at right back; until his injury late in the season, O’Rourke seemd to play right back quite a bit in Hejduk’s absence.

  12. Myles B says:

    They’re dumping all of the players TFC fans particularily have a strong hate on for!?!?

    They must have a closet TFC-fan over there calling the shots in Columbus!

  13. JohnC says:

    The Union could use that creative midfielder in GBS. I also wouldn’t complain about pairing JPA with Mwanga.

  14. PetedeLA says:

    I don’t see why the don’t just dump everyone but GBS. The guy is still awesome.

  15. GBS was a shadow of what he has been.

    During the All-Star game against Man Utd, it was obvious he had past his buy by date.

    Columbus are doing the right thing. Time to head back to South America and find a replacement.

  16. Vik says:

    Have to think Colombus will splurge on a top striker. They have a talented and young midfield, so spend DP money on some quality finishing up top.

  17. BrooklynFC says:

    GBS in NY makes sense in Theory

    IF Rafa is is midfield next yr(which I doubt more and more each day) GBS would need to assume some Defensive responsibilities, which he won’t. Rafa though a very strong defender seems to want to push up a lot more into the attack when playing in the midfield which would def be exposed by GBS’ indifference to defense. If Rafa is on the Back line than I can see it working because that would mean Tchani is starting behind him and Tchani has enough range to cover for both of their defensive responsibilities.

    In theory it would be great but there would be to much to work out

  18. catfish says:

    WOW! it’s in Dispatch today that they are making the moves and sounds as if some announcements of some sort will be next – once all players have met with management. But No Frankie, Pirate, GBS, Duncan. They have been the face of team since McBride left. Who will step up and fill those rolls (just from a marketing persective). Wonder if/when Crew will sign some of their National Championchip Academy teams? Maybe the local kid up at Akron – Chad Barson. Could be exciting time or very scary time.

  19. g-dub says:

    Shouldn’t Seattle be on the list of possibilities? Sigi would love to reunite with GBS and vice versa, and Sounders need to add some creativity in the center of the park. He could play a reduced amount of minutes and be a role model for Sturgis, who needs to grow. All That said, GBS might not like the turf.

    (SBI-I thought of Seattle at first, but that Dispatch story made it seem like Schelotto and Schmid might not have the best relationship. The turf would be a problem for Schelotto, so I think that could be the deal-breaker.)

  20. Sean says:

    You simply can’t replace GBS…unless they pull of a magic signing I don’t see Columbus making the playoffs without him.

  21. gbs says:

    when did the crew academy win a national championship?

  22. Josh D says:

    My thoughts exactly. He’ll keep playing but more for the fun than the cash so I can see him taking a cut in his paycheck to be next to the waves again.

  23. DingDong says:

    Will he stay around for the Concacaf CL matches?

  24. Luke from CBus says:

    I don’t think splurge is the right word. We are one of the more frugal (to put it lightly) franchises in the league. I’d be surprised if a DP is brought in, but who knows.

  25. Luke from CBus says:

    U19 and U18 academy teams won national titles this year.

  26. hacksaw vs. swaybar says:

    bring schelloto to seattle

  27. Tony in Quakeland says:

    I’m sorry – the team let’s him go, so he should be free to go wherever he can get an agreement. It’s ridiculous that he has to go through any sort of re entry process. He was let go. Therefore he’s a free agent.

    PS I’m a supprot of the MLS structure because it makes sense for eht health of the league. But this is silly

  28. jb says:

    A shame that Columbus is gutting their team before the champions league qf. Guess MLS and their fans will have to put their hopes on RSL.

  29. einar says:

    Angel and schelotto will not go to D.C. y? RFK stadium.

    i can see hejduk going to the galaxy for veteran leadership and defensive depth

  30. That man will never quit. That’s what happens when you have expresso in your veins instead of blood.

  31. fischy says:

    Are you kidding? Sure, the RFK locker room’s a dump and there’s lots of rats running around in the tunnels, but do you think that’s going to determine which team they go to?

    Do you think the players really care that the fans don’t have great sight-lines or good concessions? DCU still has some of the best supporters around, so if they’re influenced by more than what happens between the lines, they’ll love RFK.

    Moreover,I don’t konw how much choice the plyers have. It’s a draft. Unless they want to turn down a deal at their current salary, they’ll have to go with whichever team picks them in the reentry draft.

    That said, I don’t see how DCU gets both of those guys, even if they’re willing to pony up. I guess they could select one in the first re-entry draft, at DP salary, and select the other in the next phase, at a lower salary. More likely is the league passes on both players at DP salaries — which means that United will only have a chance at drafting one of the two players in the next phase.

  32. Myles B says:

    Totally agree. Does Columbus even break even every year? DP money’s really for big markets like NY, LA, CHI, TO.

  33. elopingcamel says:

    GBS and JPA to DCU is the most hopeful thought I’ve had for DCU in a long time. Unfortunately, I have lost all faith in DCU’s front office. My lack of faith trumps my glimmer of hope. Sad times.

  34. Second City says:

    Don’t forget to add Seattle to your list.

  35. Fred Garvin says:

    SSFC don’t need any more geezers

  36. Lorenzo says:

    There is still a chance that they will be in Columbus, but they will have to take reduced salaries. I do not think GBS will be back, but Frankie will possibly be back at a reduced price. As a Crew fan. I am deeply hurt by the moves of the team, but I understand

  37. nam says:

    yo you can’t be in support of the MLS structure and say we should have free agency, that’s kind of contradicting.

  38. Zach S. says:

    As much as it’s hard to imagine Columbus successful without Schelotto and all its other veterans, that squad you slapped together looks a major signing and a half away from being one of the best in MLS…

  39. werner says:

    I know Arena loves his experienced players, but i don’t see the Galaxy signing hedjuk to bench franklin or hedjuk riding the bench… unless he really wants to waves real bad!

    what about chivas usa wanting him?

  40. Slyboy says:

    Nice write up, summed up my thoughts, it seems like a bad letting all those veterans go at the same time

  41. JoeW says:

    1. If you’re a Crew fan, this is scary. The Crew braintrust has never been so hot at assembling talent. When Sigi was there, he finally put a team together (though it took a while) but you could see the system being assembled and the pieces fitting in one by one. GBS was a huge factor in that (much like Etcheverry was for DC United in his prime). I don’t doubt that all of these guys are aging. But my sense is that GBS was never Wryzcha’s guy or played the kind of game he preferred. So now I think we’re talking two things in Columbus:
    –you have to trust the current brain trust to make smart decisions on what talent they bring in. And we’re talking some really key pieces.
    –you have to trust Wryzcha to make smart decisions on the direction he takes the team, not just the talent brought in but the new roles. Case in point: Piotr Nowak just LOVED Brian Carroll and used him in a role that he flourished in. Asst. Tom Soehn takes over and Carroll’s game fell apart. He got used differently (not in a 3-5-2 as much supporting a guy who just attack–first Christian Gomez, then GBS) and got exposed in the expansion draft. I can’t believe that the Crew braintrust are going to go out and look for replacements for these guys, rather they’re going to play a whole new system. And then you have to wonder if guys like Carroll or Marshall (who’ve flourished in what was primarily Sigi’s system) will be as successful in what the team evolves into. Big questions.

    2. I can’t see DC United going for GBS. Here’s why:
    –they’ve got a DP (Boskovic) who’s slotted in at central midfield
    –they need a goal scorer as their first and second priority. If the team goes for JPA (a possibility) than you really can’t afford to add a second player who will (a) be expensive) and (b) not be able to give you 30 games (since you know you’ll have to watch JPA’s minutes and hold him out of some games during the season).

  42. elduderino says:

    This doesn’t make any sense at all. Why would you blow up your team when you made the playoffs, which is better than how 50% of MLS teams performed.

  43. DC Josh says:

    From a DC United fan’s perspective, picking up Schelotto is the last thing we need. He passes the ball wonderfully, but he is too old. We need to turn to youth. I’m sick of bringing in players based on what they have done in the past and not what they could do in the future, resulting in an old, banged-up team full of silver foxes.

  44. DC Josh says:

    Zippy chance DC picks up another DP salary. Will Chang is all ready looking for investors as the team is throwing money down the drain. Boskovic is our DP, I don’t see the front office buying another one. With Alsopp gone, $200,000 will be freed up if he signs with another team. Don’t forget, we are also paying for Curt Onalfo’s better golf handicap until he finds another team. DC needs to concentrate on the draft and bringing in one or two mid-grade talents.

  45. Matt (NES) says:

    My thoughs also.

    Why should a player that is released be in the re-entry draft?

    They should be a unrestricted free agent if their current club doesn’t what to keep them.

  46. Tony in Quakeland says:

    No, it isn’t. They cut ties. By not excercising their contract options it means he has no contract. They could have traded his rights, sold his rights, whatever. The idea that a guy with no contract is somehow obligated to go thorugh a allocation or draft process is insane and frankly would probably lose in court. Saying that is “free agency” is a misnomer. At best it is a very limited form of free agency created by a team negating the contract.

  47. Jeremy says:

    God no. We don’t need another washed up DP that doesn’t play defense and dives all over the pitch. We already got rid of the one we had.

  48. Jeremy says:

    Or divers.

  49. yankiboy says:

    Come on Bro–We have a lot of YOUNG players wear the jersey in the last few years who should have been on second division clubs.

    DC is cursed. The Dan Snyder Redskins’ cuurse has somehow made it’s way back to RFK (even thought Snyder didn’t own the Redskins when they played there).

    Payne. Kasper. Vinny Cerrato–there must be some link that we are missing…

  50. Knowles says:

    haha +1

  51. djs says:

    Agreed… you articulate my reaction perfectly when you say you are “deeply hurt but understand” these moves. It is very unfortunate that Crew fans will evidently not have an opportunity to properly bid farewell to four veterans who have been the heart and soul of what, over the course of the past three seasons, has been the top team in MLS (two Supporters Shields and serious contention for a third before this yr’s late fade).

    The moves may make good business sense, but I wonder if their rather perfunctory nature suggests that the club might be taking their fans for granted. In addition, reading between the lines of the Dispatch article and beat writer Shawn Mitchell’s blog (more GBS tidbits), one has to ask if there are power issues going on below the surface between Warzycha and the front office (Bliss/McCullers). It sounds as if they’re not even talking about negotiating a lower salary for GBS, so somebody obviously wants him gone. Unless they have a super replacement already lined up, I think that’s insane, given GBS’ desire to remain in Columbus and the suggestion that he’d accept a non-DP salary. They better know what they’re doing… but other than Sigi Schmid’s tenure, the Crew brass doesn’t exactly have a great track record.

  52. Mattylight says:

    Iro would start at CB, O’Rourke at RB, and Renteria up top instead of Lenhart.

  53. theultra says:

    The Crew doesn’t quite break even as a team but when you add in the stadium revenue (which is tallied separately thanks to single entity) they make money

  54. Supsam says:

    JPA to DC United? Did i miss something?? Or is this all rumors or whimsical thinking?

  55. SSFC FO says:

    We’ll trade you Jaqua for Lenhart

  56. Jason says:

    The problem with your theory is that Columbus doesn’t own his contract, MLS does. If Columbus doesn’t pick up his extension, he is NOT out of contract. Columbus has what amounts to a right of first refusal. They refused; therefore, any other team in MLS can pick that option up, because he’s still under contract with MLS. In the CBA last year they agreed that instead of having it be a free for all, they would do it by lottery. Only if every team passed on him would he be out of contract, because at that point MLS, who holds the contract, would not pick up the option on the contract. Which is why Ives said that he COULD be re-signed by MLS at a smaller price. Even at this smaller price, MLS would still hold the contract and he would go through the re-entry draft again.

  57. green says:

    here’s how you keep him. . .

    . . . give him the coaching spot.

  58. Neruda says:

    Schelotto on RSL? That would be nice. Oh and C-bus can have Findely.

  59. Never First says:

    Warzycha never wanted GBS. He tried to get rid of him after last season, but GBS decided to take a major paycut instead so his hands were tied. This time, Warzycha decided not to give him that option. He wants his own players leading this team, so he’s not living in Sigi’s shadow. Sadly, it should be Warzycha being run out of town. Crew will be extremely lucky to make the playoffs next year.

  60. Brian says:

    Oh he’s aged alright. It’s been impressive, but I noticed a drop off this year

  61. Tim M. says:

    He’s be a good fit for Chivas. They need some vet leadership. But Trujillo isn’t exactly horrible. San Jose, DC, and TFC (probably not)could all use him.

    Other then that it would have to be an expansion team, unless some weird trades happen.

  62. Tim M. says:

    Plus Riley really isn’t half bad.

  63. Tim M. says:

    JPA and GBS, great. Great like in Jamie Moreno, Fred and Gallardo all over again.

    That said. Schelotto, Boskovic, Varela, Simms, Najar, Quaranta and King isn’t a half bad midfield rotation.

    How on earth would a team get both GBS and JPA, btw?

  64. Tom in KY says:

    As a transplanted Crew fan I can only say:
    Yes, please…

  65. Tom in KY says:

    I agree with this as well. I don’t trust Warzycha. I haven’t been enthusiastic about the Crew’s future since Sigi left. The team has had a great run, winning two consecutive Supporter’s Shields and an MLS Cup, but I attribute that largely to Sigi, who built the team and installed the system. Now that it looks like Warzycha is going to be in full control, I have to admit that I’m extremely worried about the direction the team is taking…

  66. Brian says:

    Ives,

    Well two more (Carroll and Brunner) are gone from this possible starting lineup. Now what?