With the off-season addition of Costa Rican forward Olman Vargas and imminent rumors of an attacking Designated Player, where does that leave the Crew’s highest returning scorer from 2011, Emilio Renteria? Renteria was second on the team last year with eight goals, behind only the pacifier-sucking and baby-birthing Andres Mendoza’s 13.
Now, this is based on speculation. Columbus may not even sign a DP, or they might sign one that isn’t a forward. They are definitely trying to get one on board before the first game against Colorado on March 10th. However, based on what Crew President and General Manager Mark McCullers said to Adam Jardy from the Columbus Dispatch, we can start turning the wheels on the speculation bus:
“When Mirosevic came in and Vargas came in a few pieces of the puzzle fell into place and now it’s pretty clear we want to sign another forward as a Designated Player.”
I interpreted this as the Crew front office wants to buy a DP forward to play up top with Vargas, not Renteria. Why else would buying one forward prompt the want to sign another?
Being a huge fan of Renteria and a big believer in his abilities, this isn’t a fair statement to make for the Venezuelan. Renteria has been though three seasons with Columbus, and he has shown his class on countless occasions. His eight goals in 2011 came in only 18 games and 1,159 minutes.
Be that as it may, there is a reason the bulk of muscle that is Renteria only appeared in half of Columbus’ games last year. The oft-injured striker has yet to be healthy for a full season. Yet there is no doubt in my mind that he has the quality to be challenging for the MLS Golden Boot if he can stay fit throughout the year.
Renteria, coming off a short spell with his national team, rejoined the team yesterday. Vargas is scheduled to starting training on Monday. The two could possibly be fighting for a starting spot from the get-go, but should they really be focused on creating a cohesion together?
While not the longest tenured Crew fan, I’ve been around long enough to know that nothing is a guarantee until the player is physically in Columbus wearing the new yellow polo shirt of a jersey. Sure, I do believe the team is talks with a couple of players and is slowly getting closer to signing the third DP in the club’s history. But I won’t believe it until, well, the player is physically in Columbus wearing the new yellow polo shirt of a jersey.
If no forward, or any other offensive DP is inked, the Crew’s center attacking triad could consist of three South Americans: Renteria, Vargas, and Chilean Milovan Mirosevic. Not usually known for playing an attacking formation, Warzycha could change it up a little bit in 2012 and aim to win games by attacking as opposed to playing a defensive formation and trying not to lose.
The bottom line is that no DP has been signed. Warzycha has a team right now of perfectly able bodies. He should be focused on building the camaraderie of the players in camp.