OBETZ, Ohio – Barring an injury in training this week, Columbus Crew forward Guillermo Barros Schelotto will be in the starting lineup for the decisive second leg of the Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Colorado Rapids next weekend.
Crew coach Robert Warzycha downplayed his substitution of Schelotto in the series opening loss to the Rapids last Thursday, and said the Argentine playmaker should be ready to go when the series concludes at Crew Stadium on Saturday (4 p.m. ET, TeleFutura).
“Obviously you want your star players on the field; who wouldn’t?” Warzycha told MLSsoccer.com on Monday. “One game doesn’t mean anything. He played 30 games all season and there’s a reason now for him to be on the bench because things didn’t work out as good as it’s supposed to?
[inline_node:322079]“We’re not going to change much for the next game,” he added. “We played well against Philadelphia [in the regular-season finale] and [Schelotto] was on the field. Because of one bad result we’re not going to change five or six players. You have to put out your best team.”
Schelotto said there is no rift between him and Warzycha although he admitted not being happy about being pulled in the 68th minute with the result in doubt at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
“I get mad always, not just now,” he said with a smile. “When I was 20 years old, too, I am mad because I love soccer. I think everyone would be upset, because you know when you play well, you play bad. I couldn’t play very well.”
Schelotto came out for Andrés Mendoza, while Jason Garey replaced Steven Lenhart in a double substitution.
“I’m taking the two forwards out," Warzycha said. "I’m not taking out Guillermo and Steven. Sometimes you are on the field and nothing is going your way. It’s not your fault. That’s how the game sometimes goes.”
Warzycha said it was a gut feeling that a change was needed to spark the team, regardless of the stature of a player like Schelotto, the 2008 MLS MVP.
“As a coach you can’t be afraid to take a guy out,” he said. “If you are afraid to take a player you should stop coaching. You have to change it and not be afraid to do it. If you are afraid to do it and you lose then you’ll be sorry because you didn’t even try. At least I tried.”
Warzycha was criticized last year for not starting Schelotto in the first playoff game at Real Salt Lake. The Crew lost 1-0 and were eliminated the next match after a 3-2 defeat on aggregate goals, despite Schelotto scoring twice in the second leg at Crew Stadium.
Schelotto said he disagreed with that move a year ago, but that he Warzycha can co-exist.
“I can think different, but I know he is the boss,” Schelotto said. “I am one player. You can tell him about some decisions on the field but, no, I don’t have a problem with him outside the field. Inside? Never.”