Columbus Crew manager Robert Warzycha is reportedly considering holding out Guillermo Barros Schelotto from Saturday's game. The reason? Our big, bad turf.
"I haven’t decided yet,” the coach said. Warzycha was not at Tuesday’s practice for personal reasons but later spoke by phone to MLSSoccer.com. “I’ll talk to him and see what happens this week and see how he feels and how he recovered from the last game.”
Far be it from me to convince him to play one of MLS's top offensive players against a club that absolutely needs the win, but ... really? As that story points out, the Crew have played a grand total of three MLS games so far this year -- that's half as many as the Sounders. Of course, the Crew did play two meaningful games against Toluca in the CONCACAF Champions League, in which Barros Schelotto fully participated. So, maybe there is something to this story.
More to the point, though, is our state-of-the-art field turf really so much of a problem for players that they'll consider sitting out meaningful games just to avoid playing on it? This seems a little hard to swallow and more based on rumor than on fact. I'm admittedly relatively new to this, but I don't remember hearing about injuries being linked directly to our turf last year. If anything, I could see how it could wear on a player like Freddie Ljungberg, but I have a harder time buying that it hurts players after one game.
Still, Barros Schelotto did sit out the first 69 minutes of last year's match, presumably out of similar concerns.
Barros Schelotto is off to another fine start, scoring three goals in three MLS games, while leading the Crew to a 2-0-1 record.
Maybe the Crew feel as though their start gives them the flexibility to try something like this. I suppose one line of thinking may be that since the Sounders play in the West, they aren't competing as directly with us. Whatever the case, I'd like to encourage Warzycha to play it safe with this one.