MVP Schelotto having strange year for Crew

By Brian Westfall, Soccer Editor

MLS Features Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Guillermo Barros Schelotto celebrated his 36th birthday in early May, and it's obvious the reigning MLS MVP's game is changing as he gains on the age of 40.

The Columbus Crew forward led MLS with 19 assists last season, which when combined with seven goals, earned him MVP honors. Schelotto added six postseason assists last year to lead the Crew to MLS Cup title, and was named MVP of the final.

But through 12 matches this season, Schelotto has just one assist. Yes, just one. For a player who entered the season with 36 assists in 53 MLS games, it has been a strange year.

So, what's wrong with Schelotto?


"He is playing better than last year," Crew coach Robert Warzycha said.

Through 12 matches this season, Guillermo Barros Schelotto has just one assist.
Although Schelotto has just one assist, he is tied with Colorado Rapids and United States national team forward Conor Casey for the MLS lead with eight goals.

Schelotto had just 12 career MLS goals entering this year, and five of those - including four of seven last season - were from the penalty spot.

Schelotto, a former Argentine international who played most of his career at Boca Juniors in his native country, has scored six of his eight goals so far this season in the run of play.

"He surprises everybody every time he steps on the field," Warzycha said.

Schelotto's latest performance, a two-goal effort Saturday in a 2-0 win over the Kansas City Wizards on the road, offers another glimpse of just how much the veteran means to the Crew.

After handing Columbus the lead, Schelotto converted his second penalty kick this season with the Crew down a man in the second half to seal the win. The two-goal game was just the second of his career.

In the early part of the year when the defending champions were struggling, Schelotto scored the lone goal in 1-1 ties against Houston, Toronto FC and Colorado. He saved Columbus again in mid-May, scoring the lone goal in a 1-1 tie against Los Angeles.

And in the last three games during an eight-match unbeaten run that has the Crew up to third in the Eastern Conference, Schelotto has scored the winning goal in Columbus' last two victories.

Overall, Schelotto has scored in all three of the Columbus' wins, his club is unbeaten in seven matches when he scores (3-0-4), and also undefeated when he contributes one of his rare assists (0-0-1).

Obviously, it's easy for Warzycha to praise Schelotto, but he isn't the only coach noticing the MVP is just getting better with age.

"I think this is his best year in the league," L.A. coach Bruce Arena said.

"He's simply been outstanding."

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