There’s little argument that the Crew are the deepest team in MLS. Look no further than the club’s 3-1 win over New York on Thursday night for bragging rights in the Eastern Conference, and consider that Columbus earned the win without the help of starters Guilermo Barros Schelotto, Chad Marshall or Robbie Rogers.
But is there such a thing as being too deep? This week the Soap Box calls on Blake Compton, a Hudson Street Hooligans supporter and perhaps the first to mention there are, in fact, some rumblings from Columbus.
MLSsoccer.com: After Thursday night, is there any argument anymore about the best team in the east?
BC: We’re definitely the best in the East. I think we’re up there with the Galaxy for the best team in the league right now. Bruce Arena has a good, strong squad, but we’re the deepest team in the league. We go in there without three of our best players and score three goals on them? It wasn’t surprising. It just came down to strong players stepping up. Obviously the woodwork saved us on a few chances and it could have been a different game, but overall I thought the starters did the job.
MLSsoccer.com: What do you see happening for Chad Marshall and Robbie Rogers at the US national team camp?
BC: From what I’ve heard, Chad has that hamstring injury again. I think he seems to be cursed with his national team career, because every time he gets the chance to go, he gets injured. Or he’s at the camp, and he gets hurt somehow. Had he been healthy throughout the entire camp, I think he could have made it, just because who knows where Oguchi Onyewu is at or whether or not he can for the whole Cup. And for Robbie, I think he has the speed and the talent, but I don’t know if he always has the decision-making. I think there’s an outside possibility that he could be the last guy picked.
MLSsoccer.com: Is there really room for him in that midfield?
BC: On the bench, yeah. He’s one of those players who can play with both of his feet. He’s a right-footed player, but he’s making a career out of playing left wing. And you can tell he’s learning to become more defense-oriented, which is always a good thing. He’s got that speed where, if you want to put him up top at the end of the game, he’s got that speed. He’s one of the fastest guys in MLS.
MLSsoccer.com: Maybe 2014, if he doesn’t make this club?
BC: Definitely. But there are a couple of players who could contest for a spot, especially Eddie Gaven. He seems to get left by the way side because he’s one of those quieter players and not too flashy. A goal and an assist against New York, he was the Man of the Match. He came around in the league when he was 16 years old, he might become the first player to play 20 years in MLS.
MLSsoccer.com: What’s your weakest link in Columbus?
BC: Our consistency. No matter what game it is, we seem to always be able to attack and get goals. But we’re not consistent on finishing. And we’re not consistent on your defense. You see (William) Hesmer making stupid mistakes and not making easy saves, or defenders making stupid mistakes like Danny O’Rourke getting red cards. But that’s the greatest part of our team. We haven’t really played that well this season, and we’re still undefeated.
MLSsoccer.com: This is the best start in franchise history. What’s the mood among the supporters?
BC: It’s mixed, man. I’m ecstatic and a lot of my friends are, but there are guys out there who are totally maddened by our inconsistency and how Robert Warzycha’s not subbing enough. That’s the big thing people are saying: He’s not subbing guys enough. We have such a deep bench, people want to see those players. We want to Emmanuel Ekpo get at least 30 minutes, not 10. We want to see this Sergio Herriera guy, who was supposed to be the next Alejandro Moreno, but he’s got two minutes on the field. Dilly Duka has yet to sniff the field. People want to see those players, but we’re just too deep.
MLSsoccer.com: Who’s your biggest challenge in the east?
BC: No one, really. Maybe Chicago, I guess. They have a good squad and all the fire power. But no one’s close.
MLSsoccer.com: Will you guys stay unbeaten against Kansas City on Sunday?
BC: I think Warzycha’s going to mix it up a little bit, maybe switch up one or two defenders or make some moves in the midfield. But we’ll easily win this game. We had Kei Kamara for a few years, and I would never, ever want to run a 4-5-1 formation with Kei Kamara as your lead striker. I can’t see too much play coming from him, so we’ll definitely with this game.