As I type, the Crew is headed to Mexico to face Santos Laguna in a CONCACAF Champions League match. No MLS team has ever won in Mexico, so you might expect Columbus to trot out its top lineup in an attempt to make history and establish a comfortable cushion in the Group B standings.

As I type, the Crew is headed to Mexico to face Santos Laguna in a CONCACAF Champions League match. No MLS team has ever won in Mexico, so you might expect Columbus to trot out its top lineup in an attempt to make history and establish a comfortable cushion in the Group B standings.

Instead, they left behind all-stars Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Chad Marshall and Danny O'Rourke. You see, the Crew also has Saturday's MLS home game against fellow Supporters Shield contender FC Dallas to prepare for.

Technically the Champions League is more prestigious than a regular-season MLS contest, but Columbus won in Champions League play last week, so they can afford to lose in Mexico more than they can afford a weak performance against Dallas. Coach Robert Warzycha is playing the odds.

Besides Champions League group play - six mid-week matches - Columbus is in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, a longstanding domestic tournament.

The Crew has one of the deepest benches in the league, even with two roster spots open as they iron out contract details with Peruvian forward Andres Mendoza and Harvard defender Kwaku Nyamekye. But even with stacked talent, keeping a winning lineup on the pitch in all competitions is like juggling beanbags. You're probably going to drop one eventually.

That's why debate rages among fans about which competitions matter most. Some fans just want to see Columbus win the MLS Cup, as has been the Crew's objective since 1996. Others say the Supporters Shield is more significant because it honors the best team over an entire season, not the club that gets hot for a few weeks.

Still others say the point of winning domestic trophies is to earn the chance to prove their mettle in international competition, so advancing in the Champions League should be the top priority. Few fans think the Open Cup should be a priority, although with Columbus two wins away from claiming that hardware, there's a case for suiting up the marquee players for the semifinal Wednesday at D.C. United.

Crew players and coaches consistently tell the press they want to win every trophy they're eligible for. Watching them try to keep those beanbags in the air should make the next three months extra entertaining.