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More questions than answers as the Crew SC prepare to navigate the offseason

This offseason won't likely be one of big change, but there are plenty of questions the staff will have to answer for 2015.

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The 2014 season is finished now the Revolution have finished off the Crew and attention fully turns to the offseason and the 2015 season. Some reinforcements are on their way while some current players won't return.

COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT

The current CBA ends at the end of the year and the new agreement will likely change the landscape of MLS significantly. Negotiations on the salary budget and roster rules will be on the table and the expectations that there will be significant changes. That means everything from the number of players on the roster to salary budget size is on the table.

ROSTER ASSESSMENT

The players are already beginning their offseason routines and the staff has made most of the decisions on who stays and who goes. The staff will also have to assess where to upgrade the roster. Questions surround right back, forward, and left wing. Those spots have either been a revolving door (right back), the incumbent is a free agent (left wing), or there is untested depth (forward). The Crew already brought in depth at midfield by bringing in Mohammed Saeid on a free transfer. What other parts of the roster need to be attended to.

DRAFT STRATEGIES

The team will have to navigate plenty of drafts. The first is coming next week, with the action ranging into January with the Superdraft. The Crew braintrust has to assess if there is someone worth picking off the now defunct Chivas USA that is worth taking at their 2015 salary while with keeping an eye on possibly protecting them during the expansion draft.

The team then has to assess the core of the team and decide who needs to be protected from being possibly poached by Orlando City FC or New York City FC. Eleven can be protected and most home grown players are exempt which gives the Crew some flexibility.

Beyond that, the team also has to focus on the waiver draft, the two phases of the re-entry draft, and then the SuperDraft in January.

  • November 19th - Dispersal Draft for Chivas USA takes place.
  • December 10th - MLS Expansion Draft
  • December 10th - MLS Waiver Draft
  • December 12 th - MLS Re-entry Draft, Phase One
  • December 18th  -  MLS Re-entry Draft, Phase Two
  • January 15th -  MLS SuperDraft

HIGUAIN

Perhaps the biggest question surrounds Federico Higuain. The Argentinian playmaker picked up a severe injury that kept him out of the last playoff game and he's reportedly unhappy this year over losing the captaincy among other things. Adding to the fire, the Crew are also still scouting Mix Diskerud who plays in a similar role to Higuain.

Higuain has been the key piece of the Crew's offense since his arrival in 2012. He's scored 27 goals and assisted on 23 more in 71 games, but will he lead the team in 2015. Berhalter's project has been built on the steady improvements, but the replacement of Higuain would be a drastic change.