With the 2011 Major League Soccer season underway and the preseason complete, it is now appropriate to take stock of the roster that has been assembled by head coach Robert Warzycha. This review, after considering the goalkeepers, defenders and midfielders, finishes with the players who are charged to do the same – the forwards.
Here are the forwards who have been associated with the Columbus Crew during the 2011 season. This list includes players who are currently under contract, who have been released or traded, and those who have joined the team temporarily on a trial.
Because of the transitory nature of many trials, this list is most likely not comprehensive. If you spot an omission, please email Matt at email@example.com
This four-part series concludes today.
* indicates players who are currently under contract
* Bernardo Anor, #8
Anor is a rookie who played at the University of South Florida. He is an attacking player, appearing both at forward and in the midfield. He has yet to appear in any official games, but played frequently in the preseason, amassing 302 minutes of action.
* Jeff Cunningham, #33
Cunningham is a veteran forward, having played in the league since 1998. He spent the first several years of his career with the Crew before leaving after the 2004 season. He was released by FC Dallas after helping take the team to the 2010 MLS Cup. Cunningham has been a prolific – if uneven – scorer during his career, and begins the 2011 season just one goal shy of the league’s all-time record, currently held by Jaime Moreno. He is also tied with Brian McBride for the Crew all-time scoring mark.
* Tommy Heinemann, #32
Heinemann is a poaching forward who joined the team this season, having caught the coaching staff’s attention playing for Charleston in the Open Cup in 2010. He did not appear in the Champions League due to injury, but was on the substitutes bench. As the 2011 season begins he is a projected substitute rather than a starter.
* Aaron Horton, #27
Horton signed with the Crew in mid-May, becoming the team’s first Home Grown Player. He was part of an academy team that won the Super 20 National Championship in 2010, and joins the team after one year at the University of Louisville. As a Home Grown Player, Horton may not play for the first team much in 2011, but should get some time in the reserves. Horton grew up in Lewis Center.
* Andres Mendoza, #10
Mendoza is the team’s primary forward. The Peruvian veteran joined the Crew during the 2010 season following the departure of Sergio Herrera. His first appearance came on September 4th, and he made an appearance in every subsequent game, mostly as a substitute. He scored five times in 590 minutes of action. For the 2011 season, his contract has been upgraded to Designated Player status, meaning that he will be paid beyond the limits usually allowed under the salary cap. He scored the team’s only goal in the Champions League quarterfinal series against Real Salt Lake.
* Justin Meram, #9
Meram is a rookie forward who was drafted in the first round of the 2011 SuperDraft. He transferred to the University of Michigan after beginning his collegiate career at Yavapai in Arizona. He played 355 minutes in the preseason, starting one game. He played well enough to make the bench against Real Salt Lake, seeing his first professional action as a substitute in both games.
* Emilio Renteria, #20
Renteria is a Venezuelan attacker who joined the team late in 2009. He was signed as a forward, but saw significant time in 2010 at right midfield as the preferred starters were Steven Lenhart and Guillermo Barros Schelotto. With both of those players now departed, Renteria is expected to partner Andres Mendoza in the attack while fending off challenges for playing time from Jeff Cunningham and other newcomers.
Rivas was a triallist from Mexican club Tecos who played in a single reserve league game against the New England Revolution. His trial lasted approximately two weeks.
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