COLUMBUS: The Columbus Crew are going through a transition with new ownership, and Monday they decided a change needed to be made at head coach, too.
Robert Warzycha is out after 18 years of service to the Crew as a player and coach, and Brian Bliss is in as the interim coach.
Bliss, the Crew’s technical director, inherits a club that has lost seven of its past 10 matches. He also takes over a club that features up-and-coming professionals Wil Trapp and Josh Williams that have ties to Northeast Ohio.
Trapp, 20, is a rookie midfielder after playing a key midfield role for the University of Akron men’s soccer team during the previous two seasons. He has started eight matches in a row and has been efficient with his passing, and ability to defend and create offense.
“It has definitely been a little bit of a bumpy road with some of our results, but it has been great for me because I have been playing a lot,” Trapp said Saturday before the Crew’s 1-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders at Columbus Crew Stadium.
“I have been doing pretty well acclimating to the [Major League Soccer] game. Coming from the World Cup [Under-20], the jump wasn’t as severe as I thought it would because that level is pretty high as well. The biggest thing is adjusting to how long the season is. In college, it is three months. This is eight or nine months. Everyday training and playing in matches, there is eventually a point being a rookie where your body kind of hits a wall and you feel a little fatigued here and there. Mentally adjusting to that has been definitely something I have had to work through.”
Trapp, a Gahanna Lincoln graduate, made his MLS debut July 7 in a 1-0 win over visiting Portland. He had previously played with the United States U-20 team in Turkey.
Trapp and Sounders FC rookie DeAndre Yedlin, another former UA standout, started Saturday and then exchanged their jersey tops after the match, a ritual in soccer that shows a player’s sign of respect and appreciation for the manor in which an opponent plays.
“Chad Barson, DeAndre Yedlin and I went to breakfast [Saturday] morning,” Trapp said. “Dre is one of my boys. Obviously, being in the same class and coming in together at Akron, and then the [U.S.] 20s this past summer. It is weird not being on the same side as him, but at the same time when it comes to it, this is our job. He is from Seattle and I am from Columbus. ... You put the friendships aside for a little bit.”
Trapp said he still keeps up with how the UA soccer team is doing.
“I texted all the guys on the team before the game [Friday night] and wished them luck [in the season opener],” Trapp said. “I tried to watch the stream [online], but the stream wasn’t the best with the Wi-Fi I was on. I kept up on Twitter updates. [UA’s assistant director of athletic communications] Paul Warner was tweeting and keeping a pretty good tab on the game. It is awesome, a 2-0 win over College of Charleston and then [a 1-0 win over Furman].
“All of those guys are my boys. As much support as I can show them, I will do.”
Trapp has started eight matches in a row for the Crew and has one assist.
Williams, a Copley graduate and Cleveland State product, had played in 24 matches for the Crew as a starting defender. He has three goals.
Former Zips Ben Speas and Barson also play for the Crew. Speas has one goal and one assist in 15 matches, and Barson has appeared as a defender in 13 matches.
Former Zips forward Darlington Nagbe has played and started in all 26 matches for the Portland Timbers this season, and he has eight goals and three assists.
Perry Kitchen and Chris Korb continue to be consistent starters for D.C. United with 25 starts and 24 starts, respectively. Kitchen has one goal and three assists.
Houston Dynamo defender Kofi Sarkodie has four assists in 24 starts. Yedlin has played in 21 matches (20 starts) and has one goal and one assist.
Portland’s Ben Zemanski has appeared in 21 matches with one goal and two assists. ... New England rookie Scott Caldwell has two assists in 21 matches (16 starts). ... Vancouver forward Darren Mattocks is back from a knee injury. He has three goals and one assist in 15 matches. ... Steve Zakuani of Seattle underwent a sports hernia surgery in June and hopes to return this season. In six starts, he had one assist. He suffered a broken right leg in April 2011. ... Teal Bunbury has played in seven matches as he continues to round back into shape this season after a torn ACL in August 2012.
Former Zips on loan to play for clubs outside of MLS are: Portland’s Michael Nanchoff (in Sweden) and Montreal’s Zarek Valentin (in Norway) and Sinisa Ubiparipovic (in Minnesota). Anthony Ampaipitakwong is playing professionally in Thailand. ... Evan Bush (Montreal), David Meves (Portland), Blair Gavin (Seattle) and Dillon Serna (Colorado) are on rosters but have not played in an MLS match this season.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Zips blog at http://www.ohio.com/zips. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.