OBETZ, Ohio – The Crew will reach the halfway point Saturday at Sporting Kansas City with a 5-6-5 record (20 points), tied for sixth in the Eastern Conference - the same spot they were in last season after 16 games (6-6-4, 22).
Coach Robert Warzycha talked to MLSsoccer.com this week about what has gone right and wrong for a club that Crew president Mark McCullers predicted would compete for the MLS Cup.
MLSsoccer.com: Where did you feel you'd be in the standings at this point?
Robert Warzycha: Everybody thinks we can be much higher.
If you look at losing three games at home, we didn't lose three games at home last year at this stage (they finished 11-3-3 at home last season). If you'd have some points from those games we'd probably be in second place or third at worst. Obviously, our record is not good. Still, we can gain some ground.
MLSsoccer.com: So, you're confident you can make the playoffs?
RW: If we play like we've been playing and create chances, yes, we are going to score the goals and win some games.
MLSsoccer.com: Do you feel pressure that your job is on the line?
RW: There's pressure all the time. More than anything I feel disappointment.
MLSsoccer.com: In what way?
RW: What's disappointing to me is giving up soft goals. We can win games 1-0. There's nothing wrong with that. We don’t have to score five goals. We're not giving up a lot of chances. Sometimes we just kill ourselves.
MLSoccer.com: You're not worried about the offense, which is ranked 10th?
RW: If we are defensively better we will get more chances. If you look at LA's championship, I think it was two years ago, they probably won 15 or 16 games 1-0 (the Galaxy had nine 1-0 wins and three scoreless draws among 17 shutouts).
There's nothing wrong with our offense. We're scoring the goals. We just have to make sure we're playing to zeros.
MLSoccer.com: You've lost midfielder Eddie Gaven and defender Glauber for the season due to injuries, are reinforcements on the way or will you go with what you've got?
RW: We know European clubs, if they have one player injured, they can bring in a player of the same caliber with the money they have. We can't do that.
We can replace Eddie and Glauber with other players but are they as good as they are? There's a reason Eddie Gaven plays every single game. There's a reason Glauber plays every single game.
MLSsoccer.com: What are the positives of the season?
RW: I think we're playing the best soccer in years. The passing the ball, possessing the ball; we're playing aggressive soccer. That's a reason we're having a lot of penalties and set pieces. The way we're playing, the players enjoy it. We just can't get over that hurdle. We will and I know we're going to be very good.
MLSsoccer.com: You've said before that this team can be as good as the 2009 club that won the Supporters' Shield in your first season as head coach. Do you still believe that?
RW: We didn't score a lot of goals [in 2009] but we were very tight as a team and very organized as a team and everybody knew their job and did their job without talking about it. But this team is very good, too. This team can be very successful