Another free agent is heading to greener pastures. Forward Emilio Renteria is moving on and won't return to the Crew in 2013.
Renteria joined the Crew late in the 2009 season, but would start to make an impact in 2010 with five goals. He would score eight goals in his injury shortened 2011 season leaving many expecting big things in 2012.
Even though Renteria set career highs for games played, minutes, and starts in 2012, he only scored three goals and three assists. He fell out of favor when Jairo Arrieta and Federico Higuain joined the team and started making appearances on the right wing.
Renteria's departure leaves the Crew a little thin at forward. Arrieta is the main target man with Higuain settling underneath him. Every other forward on the roster has two years or less of pro experience. Justin Meram is now the veteran option off the bench, but he's played wing more often during his Crew career. Aaron Horton, Ben Speas, and Aaron Schoenfeld round out Warzycha's options. They have 11 games of MLS experience combined.
Trying to replace Arrieta or Higuain for any length of time would be a giant setback for he offense. Justin Meram has four career goals in two years. The Crew are high on Speas potential and Schoenfeld played nine games as a rookie. None of them are reliable goal scoring threats.
The Crew should have salary budget space with Renteria's salary coming off the books. The team would be well served looking for another attacker to provide depth and press for a starting spot, but finding a quality attacker is notoriously hard. This is certainly a test to see if the Crew have a plan B.