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Lineup Juggling

September 18, 2009

A lot of games in a short amount of time has forced the Crew into shuffling the lineup around. Duncan Oughton played right back in Costa Rica as the entire starting backline was out. Padula, Hejduk, and Brunner will return for Sunday’s matchup, but Chad Marshall will be out for a couple weeks at the minimum with a knee sprain.

I don’t think Marshall’s importance can be overstated. He has developed into a defensive leader and an offensive force. He can shut down just about any striker in the league. The Crew’s title shot is much weaker if he won’t be ready and sharp by the playoffs.

It is also not surprising that the Crew brought in another keeper. Andy Gruenebaum has picked up a few minor nicks that have turned into season ending surgery. He attempted to train last Friday, but wasn’t able to continue and sat on the sidelines looking dejected at the prospect of even more time away.

Former pool and Crew keeper, Kenny Schoeni was signed on Tuesday to back up William Hesmer. I hope that Hesmer stays healthy as Schoeni hasn’t seen game action for a while and there are not a lot of great chances to get him sharp if Hesmer goes down to injury.

With Columbus missing Marshall and Moffat as well as rotating players like Rogers, Gaven, and Ekpo to keep them fresh; there will be yet another lineup run out against Chicago. The reserves will be front and center. Andy Iro will be the man on the spot on the backline. Oughton once again showed he can fill in where needed. Young players like Kevin Burns, Cory Elenio, and Alex Grendi are waiting to step into the lineup.

Again, this is a time where the depth of the Crew will get tested and players who haven’t played in weeks or months will have to perform. How the Crew finish in two competitions will depend on it.

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