How are the Crew doing? Better, despite their season being practically over. Patrick Guldan was kind enough to answer our questions.
1) The Crew is looking better lately. Is it really due to Warzycha being given the boot? Or is something else behind Columbus' improved results?
"Bliss has been a breath of fresh air, but I think there are some improved performances surrounding Federico Higuain. Dominic Oduro and Jairo Arrieta have been dangerous in front of goal. Tony Tchani has been much more consistent in the middle of the field. Tchani's improvement has freed up Bernardo Anor to play on the left where he has added a little more attacking capabilities to the wings. Some of this can be attributed to Bliss, but the play on the field is just a little better all the way around."
2) With the Crew looking to next year, what are Columbus fans hoping to see out of the last few games? Are you hoping to see kids and hopefuls given a shot, or are you hoping the established players get a chance to retool their approach?
"A funny thing happened on the way to next year, the Crew started winning. The playoffs are still a long shot, but I don't get a sense that the team or the fans are looking to next year yet. The team is very much geared towards results this year. Bliss has shuffled the lineup a little bit, but it's very much the top players on the depth chart. Tyson Wahl has gotten a shot in central defense due to Josh Williams injury. Agustin Viana has solidified the left back spot with Wahl moving centrally. This is a results oriented lineup. They aren't looking to next year."
3) What's the word on the upcoming coach? Are there any rumors circulating as to a reliable candidate? What will the Crew be looking for in a new manager?
"It's all quiet on the coaching front. Brian Bliss said he wants the job and is pushing to get it. Steve Nicol, Jesse Marsch, and Gregg Berhalter are likely on the list from outside the organization. Mike Lapper, Brad Friedel, and Guillermo Barros Schelotto are on the list for those with ties to the team.
The team has been tight lipped on criteria, but they said they will be casting a wide net for candidates. I expect they will be looking for people with MLS experience and at least some head coaching experience. That puts the list with Bliss, Marsch, Nicol, and Schelotto. Bliss has done well with his limited time, but a lot of fans would love to see Schelotto."
Bonus Question: Have the Crew fans noticed any significant changes, good or bad, since Anthony Precourt took over?
"Precourt has endeared himself to the fans by taking to twitter and being visible. The organization has already spruced up Crew Stadium and replaced the speaker system that was damaged earlier in the year. He's said he will be hands off as he learns about the team, but everyone expects big changes in the offseason, both on and off the field."