BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Columbus Crew manager Robert Warzycha admits his team has hit a wall, but he is beginning to see evidence of a bounce back. But to further help jumpstart things against the Chicago Fire on Friday night at Toyota Park (9 p.m. ET), he may make some changes in attack.
“I haven’t decided yet who is going to play in front,” Warzycha told MLSsoccer.com, “but we have good options. [Steven Lenhart] is playing well and he’s getting the chances, but sometimes you need to change the luck. We’re creating the chance, but we’re not scoring the goals. Maybe someone else in his position is going to be lucky.”
Warzycha, who will remain in Chicago to watch his native Poland play the US on Saturday, will have Lenhart, Jason Garey, Andrés Mendoza and Guillermo Barros Schelotto at his disposal, while Emilio Renteria is still with Venezuela on international duty.
Crew midfielder Eddie Gaven has missed on a few golden opportunities of his own in recent weeks and, like his coach, believes the shortage of goals comes down to luck. However, he also subscribes to Warzycha’s view that the club is dragging of late due to playing three matches in the last six days.
[inline_node:316210]”It’s hard,” Gaven said. “We’re playing so many games right now, it’s hard to be up for every single game. We have to try to go out and make sure we’re at or best. It starts with working hard … and usually things will be good from there.”
“Playing so many games, plus the travel, obviously at some point you’re going to hit the wall,” Warzycha said. “But the last two games against [San Jose] and even against Seattle [in the US Open Cup], I saw a sign that the team is coming back.
“We played some good soccer at times. I think we’re on a good [path] to come back,” he added.
With Danny O'Rourke ruled out of Friday’s match against the Fire due to persistent back spasms and Shaun Francis away on international duty with Jamaica, Argentine Gino Padula will be counted on filling the left back role. He hasn’t started a match in league play since Sept. 4 in DC due to an ankle injury.
Padula has issued a warning to his teammates. With just one win in their last six matches in all competitions, they’ve chosen the wrong time to slump. They have only three regular-season matches and one Champions League group game to right the ship before the postseason.
“I think we have to try to think what happened last year and we had a bad feeling last year because we didn’t finish very good,” Padula said. “We don’t want to repeat that. It’s time to wake up. If you finish strong in the regular season you have more chance to get the MLS Cup.
“Right now there are no excuses. Only three games left and we have to try to win every game. We’ll have plenty of time to rest after this season.”