With Jairo Arrieta gone, Columbus Crew to lean on Aaron Schoenfeld or Dominic Oduro vs. Philadelphia
OBETZ, Ohio – Columbus head coach Robert Warzycha has a decision to make on Wednesday night when the Crew take on the Philadelphia Union (7:30 pm ET, MLS Live): size or speed.
With striker Jairo Arrieta away on international duty with Costa Rica, Warzycha will lean on either second-year big man Aaron Schoenfeld or the veteran speedster Dominic Oduro to carry the load up top.
And while the statistics show that Oduro is the easy choice – four of his goals this season have come while playing forward instead of his spot on the right flank – a move to Schoenfeld might create openings for midfielder Federico Higuaín that he didn’t see when he was stymied in a 1-1 draw against Philadelphia on April 6.
"I can give [Higuaín] a little more space, me being big," Schoenfeld told MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday. "Dom has the pace to get in behind, but I feel at the same time both center backs have to be worried about me winning flick-ons."
MATCH PREVIEW: Philadelphia Union vs. Columbus Crew
The 6-foot-4 Schoenfeld has made three career starts for Columbus, but has yet to crack the starting lineup this year. He logged 54 minutes off the bench during a 2-2 draw against the New York Red Bulls on May 26.
"He did very well in New York linking with Higuain and other players," Warzycha said.
Still, it’s tough to argue the numbers in favor of Oduro, who scored the team’s only goal against Philadelphia in April. The Crew are 2-1-3 when Oduro starts at forward.
"I'll try as much as possible to make it difficult for the coach not to put me on the wing again," Oduro told MLSsoccer.com this week. "I know I'll get one or two guys to beat with the right ball at the right time and I'm through. Once I'm in motion there's no one stopping me."
"I'm not saying these things to set the team back," he added. "I'm doing that because I want to win. I think me playing up front will help the team.”