Andrulis up for 2005 challenge

who only played 19 minutes during the regular season after joining the team during the final playoff push -- was seen as a curious one by many not in the know.

"I don't know that anybody that criticized us was in the locker room or at practice or in the training room or has any idea (about) the reasons (behind) certain decisions that were made," said Andrulis. "Decisions are made based on a lot of different variables. We certainly wouldn't go into the most important games of the season and make huge changes unless they were absolutely necessary."

Though his team wasn't a part of MLS Cup festivities in November, Andrulis was honored in Southern California as winner of the MLS Coach of the Year award. Still, it wasn't the climax that Andrulis had been hoping for at The Home Depot Center.

"Losing early in the playoffs was really disappointing and certainly was not the way that we had hoped to finish the season," Andrulis said. "Coach of the Year -- although it's nice -- certainly doesn't fill the void left by not being in MLS Cup."

Andrulis and the Crew are now turning their attention to next season, looking for a few new players who could positively impact the club both immediately and in the near future.

"I think we've got some work to do," he said. "We're going to continue what we have been doing, and that's evaluating players internationally as well as getting ready for the college draft. That's a big part of the process, to make sure that we can add some weapons to our arsenal and make sure that we remain one of the better teams in the league."

Jonathan Nierman is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.