CHESTER, Pa. – The Crew are taking a mini-vacation at an opportune time.
After playing seven matches in July and another Thursday at Philadelphia, the team needs some time to mend before a crucial match Aug. 14 at Real Salt Lake.
Midfielder Eddie Gaven has not been cleared to resume training after suffering a concussion and bruised neck at Chivas USA on July 31. Defender Gino Padula and midfielder Robbie Rogers also missed the 3-1 win against the Union because of inflammation in their left knees, and midfielder Adam Moffat has what team officials described as a “minor” hamstring strain that has him sidelined.
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But the most serious problem may be forthcoming. Chad Marshall, the MLS defender of the year the past two seasons, opted out of Tuesday’s US-Brazil friendly in East Rutherford, N.J., because of a worsening right knee.
“My knee is pretty bad,” he said. “I need to take the time to see if it gets any better or if I need to get it scoped when I get back from these four days off. That’s why I wanted to take the break and see what’s going on with the knee because starting soon we pretty much have Saturday-Wednesday-Saturday the rest of the way.”
[inline_node:315218]The CONCACAF Champions League starts Aug. 18 and the Crew will have six group-stage games plus the semifinal of the US Open Cup on Sept. 1 at D.C. United in addition to the final 11 MLS games.
“It’s going to be a tough stretch but we have a deep team,” Marshall said.
DC-BOUND: Defender Jed Zayner had fallen down the depth chart since the World Cup break ended, so being traded to D.C. United on Thursday for a draft pick was not surprising.
The timing, however is. Padula is out, Marshall is ailing and Moffat – who has played in the back in an emergency role – isn’t completely healthy. The roster is thinning in back, but longtime midfielder Duncan Oughton is now listed as a defender.
The Crew have two openings on the 24-man roster pending the signing of Peruvian forward Andrés Mendoza. Rookie midfielder Othaniel Yanez was released Tuesday without playing an MLS game.
It is unlikely the Crew will go with only 23 the rest of the season.
THRILLING THURSDAY: Twice the Crew have played away on ESPN2 on a Thursday and both times a large contingent of their supporters cheered the team to victory in the two newest stadiums.
The first was a 3-1 victory over New York at Red Bull Arena on May 20. Thursday, the Crew fans were stuck in the river end corner of PPL Park and had to contend with a throaty crowd of 18,001.
“We saw them up there,” Marshall said. “We heard them. It was good to see they made the trip out. It was a fun place to play. The crowd was really into it, pretty negative toward us, so that’s fun. It’s good to see a packed house.”