OBETZ, Ohio – Robert Warzycha's solution to fixing the Columbus Crew's anemic attack is deceptively simple: better execution.
It’s a familiar refrain for the Crew coach as his team has either spent too much time passing the ball or, as was the case in last Saturday’s 2-1 loss at Chicago, not making the critical final service.
“Whoever was on the flank didn’t deliver the ball the way he should [have],” he said. “Sometimes you make one good run and the ball hits you in the head but that wasn’t the case.”
He also lamented the decision-making of forward Emilio Rentería. On two occasions, Rentería made runs toward the near post and fired wildly.
“Instead of shooting from zero angle he should have passed to somebody,” Warzycha said. “That’s what he would like if someone else was in that position.”
Not having injured midfielder Milovan Mirosevic to direct the offense was also costly in the coach’s opinion.
“If we had Milo on the field, we’d play better, because he would make much better decisions or talk to the players on the field and get them to play the way they should,” Warzycha said.
He may have to do without Mirosevic again on Saturday against Real Salt Lake, as the Chilean is still recovering from an adductor strain that has kept him from playing in three of the past four games.
And the Crew (5-5-4) need help offensively any way they can get it. Their 14 goals are good for just 13th on the league scoring charts and they’ve had to rely on goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum to steal points on several occasions.
Where are the goals going to come from? Eddie Gaven and Justin Meram lead the team with three each. With 41 percent of the season completed, nobody looks likely to challenge the 13 goals netted by Andrés Mendoza last year before he was released in the offseason.
“It comes down to being a little bit sharper,” Gaven said. “It seems our last pass or our last shot lets us down. We have a pretty decent build-up but there are times when we run out of ideas when we get into the final third.”
Rentería is the only player on the current roster to score more than six goals in a season while in a Columbus uniform. He had eight in 18 games last year but has just two tallies to his name in 2012.
While the pursuit of a forward to be the next Designated Player continues, the Crew hope that Mirosevic and Costa Rican forwards Jairo Arrieta and Olman Vargas can show the goalscoring prowess exhibited at their former clubs.
Mirosevic had 39 goals in 89 games for Universidad Católica; Vargas scored 17 times in 44 matches for Herediano; and Arrieta tallied 45 goals in 161 matches at Deportivo Saprissa.
The only goals for Vargas and Mirosevic for the Crew came in the second game this season. Meanwhile Arrieta will join the club this week after agreeing to a deal in April.