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Oct 202013

Now that the Columbus Crew are officially eliminated from the playoffs, we can finally stop doing dimwitted BASEketball playoff math and start focusing on the future of the team under their new ownership group.

Next Saturday’s final game of the 2013 season presents plenty of opportunities, even though the team isn’t going to the playoffs. New England will still have something to play for as their playoff fate has yet to be determined. They will be hungry for a win. This is a good thing and can provide a valuable experience for the younger players on this team. The biggest beneficiary is Wil Trapp, assuming Brian Bliss chooses to do what I’m proposing.

Let Wil Trapp take over for Federico Higuain as the team’s designated “playmaker”.

Saturday’s loss to New England full exposed Trapp’s greatness weakness: his strength or lack thereof. It’s easy to say he just needs to grow into his man body and hit the weight room and then he’ll be fit to play his holding midfield role. But Trapp’s best qualities actually make him a viable option as a traditional “No. 10″; a playmaker linking the forwards and the rest of the midfield. Obviously Higuain thrives in this role, but Trapp is only 20 and I think it’s worth giving him the responsibility of distributing next weekend against New England. He has great vision, he’s responsible on the ball, and his technical ability (first touch, dribbling, etc) might actually be second only to Higuain. We already know he’s struggling as a holding midfielder right now, so why not experiment and see what he’s capable of in a different position?

I’d love to see Bliss trot out one of these potential lineups…


Barson – Gehrig – Marshall – Hyland


Finlay          -          Speas


Schoenfeld     –     Finley



Barson – Gehrig – Marshall – Hyland

Tchani     –     George


Meram     –     Finley     –    Speas

The diamond 4-4-2 up top is probably more realistic since Bliss has little creativity with his tactics, though maybe he’ll change things up for the final game of the season. By all accounts, Kyle Hyland has had a decent season with the reserves as a left back and it’s worth trying to find out what he’s capable of against first team competition. I’m still not a huge fan of Aaron Schoenfeld, but his goal on Saturday earns him an encore in my eyes. The rest of these lineups (except for Marshall obviously) makes up the U-25 core of the team that’s essentially auditioning for their future with the team and possibly a new coach.

Unfortunately not even YouTube has a video of Wil Trapp highlights from his time with the US U-20 team at the World Cup this past summer, but possibly his best performance was as captain against France in the group stage. He had several decent shots from distance and did a great job providing a link between his fellow midfielders and the 3-man forward line that the US used throughout the tournament. I think if you put him behind a 3-man line of Meram-Finley-Speas you’d be pleasantly surprised by the results.

Something tells me we won’t see Trapp is such an advanced role, but I think it’s a position he is well suited for and there’s really only one way to find out for sure. I have absolutely no idea what to expect from a lineup perspective next weekend, but those are my two preferences. The team has managed to squander any potential from Justin Meram as a true winger and/or striker and Ryan Finley hasn’t had nearly enough playing time this season for us to determine his potential.

I really hope we’ll learn something new about Trapp next weekend, but who knows.

Adam Uthe

VP of Content Development for GFT and proud supporter of Columbus Crew (MLS) and Liverpool FC (EPL). @AUtheGFT

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