Armchair Analyst: One big question for Columbus Crew SC

A Big Question: How much of Gregg Berhalter's system will Caleb Porter keep?

To me this is the biggest question facing the Columbus Crew in 2019, just as it was on both sides of the Hudson in mid-2018 when Patrick Vieira and Jesse Marsch left NYCFC and the Red Bulls, respectively. Vieira and Marsch – like Berhalter – had very defined and detailed tactical approaches, and both were successful. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?

That was mostly how Chris Armas approached the job, and the Red Bulls thrived. Dome Torrent went in a different direction, and as a result so did NYCFC.

There's a lesson there: You don't have to put a brand new stamp on things just because.

Porter's no dummy. He knows what it takes to win in this league, and knows this isn't a rebuilding job. I think it's telling that there's been almost zero roster turnover (though if those rumors about European interest in Gyasi Zardes are true, and the price is right... dear God, you must sell!!!), which suggests he doesn't even think this is a retooling job. Personnel-wise, this team will probably look quite a bit like the group that took the field last year.

Tactically and philosophically I'm guessing that'll be true as well. There will be some tweaks – perhaps a bit more verticality out of central midfield, and more one-touch play to vary the rhythm of their attacks. But right now the smart money says meet the new boss, same as the old boss.