Crew head coach Robert Warzycha is prone to communication breakdowns. I've had many chances to chat with him. He's often very gracious with his time and will even joke around. He is however prone to the odd comment. He had an odd one in today's Dispatch talking about the lineup decisions around Dominic Oduro starting ahead of Jairo Arrieta.
If I'm Polish and I'm going to play for my national team, and we have a German guy who is going to play for the national team, too, those are two completely different national teams, There's a team that won the World Cup, and that player is probably much better than I am. That's why he needs to be in the lineup.
Arrieta did lose his starting spot after returning from national team duty with Costa Rica to the Ghanian Oduro, but he appears to be comparing national teams and making that one of the criteria for choosing a starter.
It's true that the Ghanian national team is held in higher regard, they are 22nd in the latest FIFA rankings while Costa Rica is at 47, but Oduro has a single appearance for the Black Stars during an appearance in Philadelphia against Chile in 2012. Arrieta recently returned to the Ticos squad and has two goals in nine appearances.
While their respective national team performances might play into his decision making, there are more pertinent factors, who is the best fit for the position. As I noted last week, both Arrieta and Oduro play best at forward. The decision for the Crew should come down to who gives the team the best chance of winning.
Oduro had a very good game in D.C. and a quiet half at forward against Philadelphia before moving to the wing and eventually picking up a goal. Arrieta was combative, but had a single shot in his 45 minutes.
More troubling is how Arrieta handles the change. He didn't appear happy after the game, but stuck to keeping his comments positive with the assembled reporters. Bob Hunter's Rumblings column tells a different story:
A Spanish-speaking source who spoke to Arrieta indicated he was upset about losing his starting spot because of a national-team call-up and that some other Latino players also were unhappy about it.
I doubt there are any players that are happy after getting dropped to the bench, but this also affects the rest of the team. Arrieta's friends on the team don't agree with the decision either. Coaches have to make tough decisions, but communication is key. Players don't have to like it; they do have to accept it. If they stop doing that then there is real trouble.