There are several things to get to the bottom of before the LA Galaxy take on the Columbus Crew tomorrow, so we sent over some questions to SB Nation Crew blog Massive Report. Robbie Rogers is facing his old club for the first time, but I was most concerned about finding Federico Higuian's spirit animal. The answer to these questions and more follow, with my answers to questions sent from Massive Report to follow:
1) These East-West meetings are more and more of a mystery as teams have less and less regular season history. So lets get to know each other! What have the Crew done to ameliorate the concerns of the first half going into the second half of the season?
Strangely not much. It is no secret that Columbus started off the hottest team in the league, but that has quickly become a distant memory to Crew fans. Head coach Gregg Berhalter preaches patience as he develops a system of play that is entertaining and, with time, can yield results. In short the coaching staff has stayed the course. They did look into making signings during the transfer window (see Mix Diskerud) and it wouldn't be surprising if they attempt to add an out of contract striker to improve the offense, but the players and the coaching staff believe in what they're doing and aren't going to make any major changes quite yet.
2) It seems the Crew, Dallas, and Galaxy were all in on the USMNT players who were considering a move to their domestic league. How does Berhalter's approach to team building juxtapose with Robert Warzycha's?
That's a good question. Berhalter is looking for players that fit his style of play. He wants players who enjoy the possession game and are willing to play that style. A perfect example is the departure of Chad Marshall and the addition of Michael Pakrhurst. I don't believe Berhalter would have anything negative to say about Marshall, just Parkhurst fits the system better. There was a similar issue with Dominic Oduro and that's why he's now having success with Toronto FC.
With Warzycha, it seemed there was never much of a system. When he took over for Sigi Schmid after the 2008 MLS Cup winning year, he adopted that style with Guillermo Barros Schelotto. Once Schelotto left, the Black and Gold struggle to find a specific style. Players came and went, but there wasn't much of a pattern in Warzycha and technical director Brian Bliss' signings.
3) How has old Galaxy friend Hector Jimenez adjusted to the Crew? Does he still hug the touch line like it was his best friend, or has he become ubiquitous on the field of play?
Jimenez has been great this year in Columbus, that is before the knee injury that caused him to miss several weeks (he is back in training now). He is another example of Berhalter finding a player that fits his style. Jimenez has played on both sides of the field as well as right back when needed and has been a big part of the possession game.
Does he still hug the sideline? Not nearly as much. In this system, the "wingers" don't provide as much width as the outside backs, so he's been more involved in the middle of the field. I would actually compare him to now retired Crew player Eddie Gaven in terms of doing the little things that don't always get noticed but help a team become successful.
Crew fans are certainly glad to have him so thanks!
Bonus: If Federico Higuain had a spirit animal, what would it be?
Hmmm, this is tough. I would say a wolf. He's always roaming around looking for the ball and to be involved. Sometimes he's on his own, but when he starts the attack, the pack is with him.