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Alt-History Battle: 2009 Crew v. 2013 Crew

Who would win in a showdown between the 2009 Supporters Shield winning Crew and this year's team?

Earlier today, Robert Warzycha compared this year's Crew team to the Supporters Shield winning team from 2009. It's an interesting comparison given that one team made the playoffs, albeit crashing out in the first round and the other is still looking to get into playoff position.

Taking that as a challenge, I dove into the old roster and lineup sheets to compare the two teams from top to bottom.

Goalkeeper: William Hesmer and Andy Gruenebaum v. Andy Gruenebaum

Hesmer was coming off a stellar year in 2008 and put in an injury shortened 2009 season. Gruenebaum performed admirably as the backup and had to play in 16 games. The 2013 keeper group has been all Gruenebaum in league play. He's been solid, but not quite as good as the 2009 tandem. Winner - 2009

Right Back: Frankie Hejduk/Jed Zayner/Danny O'Rourke v. Josh Williams

Hejduk only played 14 games in 2009 and Zayner and O'Rourke filled in when the Frankie wasn't available. It was a solid group, but certainly not as dynamic with Frankie showing his age. Williams isn't a right back, but performed solidly until shifting centrally with Glauber's injury. Winner - Tie

Right Center Back: Chad Marshall v. Chad Marshall
The 2009 version of Chad Marshall was very good once again, but picked up small injuries here and there that limited him to 18 games. The 2013 version of Chad Marshall has been excellent after years of injury catching up with him. Winner - Tie

Left Center Back: Eric Brunner/Andy Iro v. Glauber

Eric Brunner and Andy Iro were solid players that played tight on the back line. Glauber was an underrated player as he was fifth the league in interceptions, leading the Crew with 5.4 a game. Only Aurelien Collin played the offside trap better according to Opta. He was also tied for second in the league with 1.1 blocked shots per game. On top of that, he could play an accurate long pass out of the back. Winner - 2013

Left Back: Gino Padula v. Tyson Wahl

Padula was obviously slowing down, but was still an extremely smart player. He was susceptible to speed and picked up a few more fouls than usual, but he was a solid left back in 2009. Tyson Wahl has ranged from abysmal to solid. He doesn't add much going forward on crosses and he's not a great one on one defender. Winner - 2009

Right Mid: Eddie Gaven v. Eddie Gaven

Both 2009 and 2013 Gaven did the little things on offense and defense that help out a team. Both had off years compared to year previous. Winner - Tie

Defensive Mid: Brian Carroll v. Danny O'Rourke

Carroll was the cerebral player who worked to be in the right position. He suffered the aftereffects of a shoulder separation in midseason and his form suffered. O'Rourke is a destroyer who has added some intelligence to his game. He's dropped the O'Red reputation and often finds himself in good position. The only issue is that he will miss games here and there. Winner - 2009

Central Mid: Emmanuel Ekpo/Adam Moffat v. Matias Sanchez/Agustin Viana/Tony Tchani

Ekpo and Moffat both were limited players. Ekpo struggled occasionally in the crowded space in central midfield and could struggle to find people. Moffat was a bulldog and terrible passer. The 2013 Crew have had a revolving door in central midfield. Sanchez shows some offensive instincts, but has an issue with his temper. Viana is more of a pure defensive midfielder who hasn't been able to add much to the attack. Tchani has struggled mightily this season. Winner - 2009

Left Mid: Robbie Rogers v. Ben Speas/Justin Meram

Rogers wasn't the scintillating player of 2008 as he struggled to adapt to Warzycha. He had a single goal, but did get five assists. Rogers was still a dangerous asset. Ben Speas has a goal and an assist with Meram not tallying in either column. Speas shows flashes of being a standout, but it hasn't happened yet. Winner - 2009

Attacking Mid/Second Forward: Guillermo Barros Schelotto v. Federico Higuain

Both players drove hard to make the team succeed. Schelotto carried the scoring load all year with 12 goals, but only getting three assists. He wasn't the influential playmaker. He turned into the fox in the box essentially. Higuain has been aggressive in trying to create. He leads the league in passes that lead to shots with 66. He has five goals, four off of PKs and three assists. He's earning his money. Winner - Tie

Forward: Alejandro Moreno/Jason Garey/Steven Lenhart v. Dominic Oduro/Jairo Arrieta

Moreno scored four goals, Garey added four more, with Lenhart chipping in three. Each player added a little something different to the lineup and took the pressure off of Schelotto. Oduro has supplanted the opening day starter Arrieta. He has seven goals already with Arrieta chipping in a single goal. Oduro's speed is perhaps the Crew's most consistent dangerous weapon. Winner - 2013

Taking score, it's the 2009 team wins five positional battles, the 2013 team wins two, and they tie four. Warzycha sees this year's team as one of the best he's coached, but the 2009 team had the better mix of veterans and role players. There are just a few too many holes on the 2013 team for the comparison to fit. Certainly if Viana comes back strong and Anor and Speas add an additional dimension to the offense, perhaps the comparison it a little closer.