Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Two Tales of Squad Selection

First, it takes a special kind of person to work dual alliteration into a 5 word title. That's just the kind of quality (read: kitsch) you get out of me.

Columbus Crew and Seattle Sounders each played their third CCL game last night to very different results. Columbus hosted Joe Public and rolled to a 3-0 win, while Seattle went down to the monster's lair to play at Saprissa and came away 2-0 losers. There was one similarlity between these sides though: they both played a lot of reserves.

I've been very critical of MLS teams rolling out poor lineups for CCL games and US Open Cup games in the past but I am 100% behind both of these clubs.

Columbus was coming off a huge game against LA Galaxy last weekend with another tough contest against Seattle this Saturday looming ahead of them. Also, being at home against Joe Public was the easiest chance for Columbus to get 3 points they will see all tournament. If their reserves couldn't earn a win at home against a club that is already 11 points behind TT Pro League leaders Defense Force after only 10 games then they don't deserve to move forward in this competition.

Even as they played stifling defense on the Trinidadian team, the game was a little tense after the first half as Columbus failed to put away any of the chances they had created. You began to wonder how long Robert Warzycha would wait to bring in his offensive stars like Schelotto, Gaven, and Lenhart. Leandre Griffit took care of those worries two minutes into the second half though, and Columbus was able to give their stars a rest and still enjoy a comfortable victory.

Seattle didn't go quite as deep into their bench, mostly because there was still a very small outside chance they could make it through the group. But it was clearly not a first team squad, as you can see by that bum Roger Levesque making an appearance.

My reasoning for liking Seattle's lineup is a bit different than Columbus. Seattle is sitting in the 8th and final playoff spot for MLS Cup with one of the easiest remaining schedules. Given that they had earned 0 points through two CCL games, it would be short-sighted to try and maximize points in a competition you have little-to-no chance of progressing in at the expense of potentially making a deep run in the MLS Cup Playoffs.

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