INDIANAPOLIS – The Columbus Crew turned some heads when they chose forward Ryan Finley with the ninth pick in Thursday's draft, one pick earlier than Indiana sophomore Eriq Zavaleta, who went to Seattle.
Columbus coach Robert Warzycha had a message for his detractors – look at the statistics. As a senior at Notre Dame, Finley scored 21 goals, while Zavaleta scored 18 for the Hoosiers.
“Zavaleta is also a very good player,” Warzycha said. “I think if you look at the record of how many goals scored, you can come to the conclusion that Finley scored more, so that's why him and not somebody else.”
Whether those stats will carry over to MLS remains to be seen, but the target forward thinks he'll do well running onto passes from Argentine playmaker Federico Higuaín and forward Jairo Arrieta.
“Obviously they have some great players, and I think my game is kind of making runs off the back four,” Finley said. “I don't need to touch the ball a hundred times a game, but if you get it to me in the box, there's a good chance.
"I'll probably put it in the net. I think if I have those guys creating around me, I think I'll be in good spots.”
With the possibility of Arrieta being called into Costa Rica's World Cup qualifiers, Finley may be thrown into the fire early.
Warzycha thinks he's ready.
“Obviously playing 34 games and having international call-ups like Arrieta is going to have, with the Open Cup and the friendly games, I think you need some more forwards,” Warzycha said. “You need some depth. I think he's going provide that for us.”