2.14.2013: 2013 Ethan Finlay Coming Out Party? Sometimes everyone forgets the promise Ethan Finlay had coming into this league in 2012. His pacey play was very different from other attackers we've had recently (such as Alejandro Moreno, Emilio Renteria, Mendoza, Vargas, and many, many others). Finlay also seemed to possess above average ball control and finishing. Therefore, a few draft projectors stated that Finlay perhaps would make an instant impact. Because of that pace and his impressive college resume (and their own projections) the Columbus Crew drafted Finlay with their first round, 10th overall pick last season. First rounders sometimes have an impact immediately; however, usually any draft player, except perhaps that one star phenom or two, take much more time. Some Crew fans forgot overall that this is a process and faster soccer or any harder task for that matter, has a learning curve. Therefore, if Finlay gets himself in a groove in 2013 and becomes a success in MLS it shouldn't be a surprise. As overall very rarely do freshman college players start and put up blistering numbers. Just as very rarely do MLS rookies. And that was about the case for Finlay in his 2012 rookie season. After some starts at the beginning of the year at forward, Finlay was tried on the wing, and suggested at left back. In the end of the shuffle, the Crew couldn't seem to find a space in the 11 for this young talent yet. Finlay faded into the backdrop a bit over 13 appearances and no one was able to yet define him. Nevertheless, the Hermann Trophy Finalist had 43 goals with Creighton and appears to be catching up to that form at the next level in 2013. Yesterday, Ethan Finlay terrorized the Philadelphia Union with two goals and an assist. Of course, Finlay was facing a diverse mix of Union reserves, starters and trialists, including former Crew Shaun Francis; but still Finlay's 61 minutes yesterday put a exclamation point on a good overall performance this preseason. A preseason that has Crew fans talking. The chatter has Finlay as possibly the man that can replace the Rogers and the Duka's on the wing, on the opposite side of Gaven. Yesterday two goals on the wing counts as yet another resume builder to help Finlay's push for starting time in 2013. Finlay's two goals and assist can be added to his other bullet points including a wonderful assist on a Sercan Guivenisik goal, against Chicago in an earlier friendly at IMG. Overall, it appears that Finlay has built on his experience after one year and 426 minutes of Major League Soccer. "We didn't skip a beat today, if you want to call us the second team. I think the first unit came in and they played well too. We're trying to push those guys to make our team better." Finlay appears to be primed to do more than push the starters this season.
If the Crew are truly playing for a championship this season, they'll need to expect as much from players like Finlay as they do from the Sanchez's and Berti's. Reached at twitter #CrewtureFanzine, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or bigsoccer with the same tag.