Crew reserves stay busy as they bide their time

Rookies like Cole Grossman eyeing weekend match vs. Louisville

OBETZ, Ohio – Cole Grossman may have started both CONCACAF
Champions League quarterfinal matches against Real Salt Lake earlier this year,
but the rookie has yet to play in the Crew’s four regular-season games.

That’s why the midfielder won’t take lightly Sunday
morning’s reserve match at Crew Stadium against the University of Louisville.

“You have to use it as an opportunity to get better,”
Grossman said. “It’s particularly tough if you don’t have the right attitude.
It’s important for rookies to not get too emotional about not playing a lot and
understand the realities of professional sports.”

The Duke product played the second half of the Crew’s first
MLS Reserve League match against D.C. United on March 20 – a 3-2 loss – and
scored against St. Louis University during a 2-0 win on April 2.

“I try to approach them as if they were
one of the regular games,” Grossman said of the reserve matches. “You don’t get anything out
of them if you don’t.”

The Crew’s next Reserve League game is April 23 at Toronto
FC following the first-team game. While every player wants to be on the varsity team, so to
speak, playing for the reserves is harder for veteran players who don’t crack
the first XI or the 18-man game-day squad.

“Obviously there are guys who are going to be disappointed
because they’re not playing,” coach Robert Warzycha said. “With the reserve
games, we’re giving them a chance in a game situation. How they are going to
approach it is up their character. So far, they are approaching it in the right

Usual starting left midfielder Robbie Rogers was on the
bench at the start of the season opener at DC before entering for the final
24 minutes. He was up bright and early the next day to play the first 45
minutes in the Reserve League game.

“With the adrenaline and emotion from the night before, it’s
tough to wake up in the morning and play that reserve game,” Rogers said. “I
think it’s great for guys who aren’t getting much playing time to stay fit and
get quality game minutes. I just think it’s rough to do it in the morning like

Andy Adlard, a first-year midfielder from Indiana
University, welcomes any minutes he can get in the Reserve League because he,
like other players, is still trying to earn his first appearance with the full

“When you play other reserve teams it’s their jobs [on the
line], too,” Adlard said. “They’re trying to do what we’re doing. Everyone is
really battling for positions. You want to impress in those games. It’s not
like another scrimmage. It’s actually a league and you get paid for winning.”

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