With the 2011 Major League Soccer season underway and the preseason complete, it is now appropriate to take stock of the roster that has been assembled by head coach Robert Warzycha. After starting with the goalkeepers and the defenders, this review today considers the engine which drives team performance – the midfielders.
Here are the midfielders who have been associated with the Columbus Crew during the 2011 season. This list includes players who are currently under contract, who have been released or traded, and those who have joined the team temporarily on a trial.
Because of the transitory nature of many trials, this list is most likely not comprehensive. If you spot an omission, please email Matt at [email protected]
This series will conclude on Saturday with the forwards.
* indicates players who are currently under contract
* Andy Adlard, #6
Adlard is a midfielder who was selected in the 2011 Supplemental Draft. He plated at Indiana University alongside Rich Balchan. He appeared in five preseason games (178 minutes), with zero starts.
* Kevin Burns, #15
Burns is primarily a holding midfielder, either as the base of a diamond or part of a bucket formation. He joined the team in 2009, and won a starting spot toward the end of 2010 after getting sporadic minutes his rookie year. He appeared in 17 of the final 18 games in 2010.
* Dilly Duka, #11
Duka is a creative midfielder who has been used both centrally and in a wide position. He drafted in the first round of the 2010 SuperDraft. He holds a Generation Adidas contract, meaning that his salary is not counted against the team’s budget for cap purposes. He saw little time during his rookie year (614 minutes in 10 appearances, most in the Open Cup or Champions League), but has gotten positive reviews in the 2011 preseason. He started the first league game at DC United in place of Robbie Rogers.
* Emmanuel Ekpo, #17
Ekpo joined the team as a wing midfielder in 2008, contributing to the team’s first MLS Cup title. He missed five games that year to represent Nigeria at the Beijing Olympics, where he won a silver medal. Entering the 2011 season, he has been moved off the flanks and into the central midfield position.
Elenio is a former reserve midfielder who played with the team from 2008-09. He made three appearances but was cut before the 2010 season began. He reappeared briefly as a triallist before the 2011 season, trying to win a spot on the newly-expanded roster.
* Eddie Gaven, #12
Gaven is an all-purpose midfielder who has been used most often on the wings – and memorably as a goalkeeper during the last game of the 2010 season after William Hesmer sustained an injury. He joined the team as part of Sigi Schmid’s 2006 rebuilding effort, and has been a regular starter. He has also been a fringe player for the US National Team, but was not part of the 2010 World Cup team. Gaven turned pro at the age of 16, signing with New York in 2003.
* Eric Gehrig, #16
Gehrig is a midfielder, but his role in the Crew’s plans is thus far unclear. He played rarely for the team in preseason (158 minutes), and has yet to make a game day roster for any official competition.
* Leandre Griffit, #13
Griffit is a French midfielder who has been used most often on the left wing. He joined the team in the middle of the 2010 season, but has been rarely used. Most of his 374 minutes of action his first year came in the Champions League or Open Cup.
* Cole Grossman, #19
Grossman is a defensive-minded midfielder who joined the team in the 2011 SuperDraft. He saw more action in preseason than any rookie except for Rich Balchan, and started both games in the Champions League series against Real Salt Lake. With the signing of Dejan Rusmir, however, his spot on the depth chart has slipped to start the season. He played collegiately at the University of North Carolina.
Prim was a triallist who saw sporadic action throughout the preseason, although he was never named a starter. His last appearance for the Crew came against New England in Georgia, but he was not offered a contract.
* Robbie Rogers, #18
Rogers is a wing midfielder who has been with the Crew since 2007. He joined Columbus after the team won his rights in a special lottery at the beginning of that year. He began his professional career in Holland after leaving the University of Maryland after his freshman year. He has been a regular starter during his tenure with the Crew, but faces an increased challenge this year from the developing Dilly Duka. Rogers narrowly missed out on a spot on the 2010 World Cup team, having made Bob Bradley’s final training camp. He was one of the last players cut from the roster.
* Dejan Rusmir, #22
Rusmir is a newcomer to Columbus for the 2011 season, having played most of his career in Eastern Europe – most recently Romania. He is a defensive midfielder. He joined the team during the Arizona leg of preseason, and officially signed a contract shortly before the season began. Rusmir started the first game of the season at DC United, apparently displacing both Kevin Burns and Cole Grossman at least temporarily.
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