OBETZ, Ohio – A move to the left might get Emilio Rentería right back on track again as the Columbus Crew forward searches for his first goal of the season.
During practice this week coach Robert Warzycha has encouraged the Venezuelan to not be so predictable with his play.
“I put him a little bit on the left side which I think will help him going on his right foot,” Warzycha said. “He needs to be more aware of where he is on the field, not only the right side all the time.”
The idea is to get better looks and ultimately shots on goal for the right-footed Rentería by having him cut toward the goal from the left. The hope is that the 27-year-old Venezuelan international can get more power and accuracy behind his shots.
When Rentería scored eight times in 18 games last season, he did so by putting 17 of 43 shots (40 percent) on goal. Only two of 13 shots (15 percent) have been on target this season. The one miss he replays over and over in his mind came during the 4-1 loss to New York on April.
“[Shaun Francis] crossed the ball and I missed it with a header,” Rentería said through a translator. “I should have scored a goal. You have to move on and learn from that situation and if it’s presented in the future, finish a different way.”
WATCH: The missed chance that still eats at Rentería
Rentería always says his goal total isn’t important as long as the team is winning. Unfortunately the Crew have not won in five games and Rentería’s lack of production is a reason they have scored only six goals this season.
“It’s no pressure on me,” he said. “I’ll keep working hard. My goal is still the same. I want the team to win and will do everything possible to help the team win. If I score and we win, that’s great. If I don’t score I can do something else to help the team win.”
Warzycha has twice benched Rentería in favor of Aaron Schoenfeld but now the rookie and forwards Olman Vargas and Tommy Heinemann are injured, forcing the team to rely even more on Rentería.
“Maybe at the beginning of the season the ball didn’t bounce the right way; we didn’t find him in the right areas,” Warzycha said. “That doesn’t mean he’s in the doghouse. He needs to find the game again.”
It better happen soon because Rentería might be fighting for his job.
Costa Rican forward Jairo Arrieta will join the club at the end of June and an international Designated Player, who will likely be a forward, could also be signed. That would put the club over the allowable number of foreigners.
For the time being, Rentería is not panicking.
“The more relaxed I am the better, because if I go crazy then it will be even worse,” he said. “I need to stay calm and be confident that I will score soon.”