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Arrieta Staying Positive Despite Probable World Cup Absence

Arrieta is taking the glass-half-full approach to only being named an alternate for the Costa Rican national team's initial 30-man roster.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Head held high, hair gelled perfectly, stylish, fresh clothes, Jairo Arrieta - swag still intact - walked out of the players' locker room at the Columbus Crew practice facility to talk to reporters.

The forward was named as an alternate for the Costa Rican national team camp that will take place before this summer's FIFA World Cup Finals. This means, in all likelihood, Arrieta's shot at Brazil 2014 is over.

"I don't have any different emotions, I've just got to keep my head up and keep playing hard. That's all I can do right now." Arrieta said through a translator on Tuesday.

That is Jairo; even in the toughest moments he will still give you a smile and keep things upbeat. He is always the optimist, choosing to look at life in a positive manner.

Unless another player picks up an injury, Arrieta will remain with the Crew during the World Cup, but he isn't focusing on that. Instead he looks to improve with his club.

"When the numbers did come out, I'm not in but there's a possibility," he said. "I'm going to be working hard here, that's the most important thing right now.

"For the team, we're in a tough situation right now and the most important thing is to bounce back and try and get some games with a W."

The Black and Gold are moving in a downward trajectory right now. After beginning the season with the best start in team history, the Crew have not won in seven games. The team has lost three on the trot and is on the verge of setting a club record scoreless streak.

This streak is something Arrieta knows all too well. The striker was the last Columbus player to find the back of the next, converting a penalty kick in a 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls. That was April 26 and Arrieta, nor any of his teammates, have been able to score since then.

That penalty kick - usually taken by Federico Higuain - was given to Arrieta in attempt to get the goals flowing. After scoring on the opening day of the season, the Costa Rican had struggled to hit the target despite his consistent work rate.

This may have played a part in Costa Rican coach Jorge Luis Pinto's decision to not include Arrieta in his 30-man roster.

"If [Jairo] would have been scoring on a regular basis, I'm confident he would have been in the team as well," Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter said this week.

"We tried desperately to give him opportunities to add to his account and it's too bad he's not in the initial squad. Hopefully he'll be part of it somehow."

The 30-year old has had an up and down tenure with the Black and Gold. In his first season, Arrieta scored nine goals in 18 games, but followed that up with a disappointing three goals in 2013. Berhalter and his staff were hoping the forward would find the form of 2012.

The season is still young for Arrieta to find his touch in front of goal. It may not be enough to see him represent his country on the global stage, but - always the optimist - Arrieta is focusing on what he can control.

"I'm with this club," he said. "We're here to win and that's what we're going to do right now. I'm excited for my teammates and just moving forward, I want to be here and win."

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