2013 MLS SuperDraft: "Old Heads and the Draft"

Ned Dishman

The Crew have two picks in the SuperDraft on Thursday, but they won't find what they need most.

The Draft is being pushed as one of the most exciting weeks of the year, well perhaps offseason. It's a chance to get some fresh faces into the team and perhaps get a game changing player. It's exciting to dream about all those player to mold.

This is the problem with the draft for the Crew. They don't need more talent to mold. The average age of the team is 24.6, one of the youngest squads in the league. There are only two players 30 years or older on the squad, Andy Gruenebaum and Milovan Mirosevic. They need an "Old Head".

Crew fans don't need a long memory to realize the value of a certain type of veteran leadership. Guillermo Barros Schelotto had just turned 34 when he first lined up for the Crew. He wasn't fastest player on the field but he was always one of the smartest.

The Crew need another Schelotto. No, not someone who can pull the strings on the offense; Federico Higuain appears more than capable of doing that. They do need a player who can provide a steady hand to a squad that was inconsistent throughout much of the season. Schelotto exuded a "seen it all" attitude that helped steady the team when things started to turn south on the field.

Beyond Schelotto, Frankie Hejduk, and Gino Padula acted as steadying presences for a team that was trying to jump to the next level and stay there. They had seen just about everything on a soccer field that could happen which came in handy when everything eventually did happen.

Naturally, the shelf life for this type of player is short. Schelotto, Hejduk, and Padula fell victim to time and the Crew have struggled to replace them.

Robert Warzycha and Brian Bliss apparently tried to solve this problem last year when they brought in Mirosevic and Carlos Mendes. Mendes broke down and struggled to get into the lineup and Mirosevic was shuffled into several different positions and really struggled to settle. Mirosevic's Chilean compatriot Sebastian Miranda's option was declined, further lowering the age of the team.

Therein lies the difficulty of rebuilding a team. The Crew parted ways with a significant amount of experience and knowledge in the past three years. That's the nature of players aging. The problem is that they haven't replaced the "Old Heads" they lost. They won't find them in the draft this week either.

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