Every MLS team deals with injuries, but for the Columbus Crew, the injured list has been filled with starters for months.
With veteran midfielder Eddie Gaven and newly-acquired starting centerback Glauber both finished for the season with ACL tears, the squad managed to win two straight, both in shutout fashion. But before a 4-0 dismantling at the hands of Real Salt Lake, midfielders Justin Meram (back) and Bernardo Añor (hamstring) came up with injuries, and did not make the trip west.
Añor says that he's feeling better, but still hasn't returned to a full practice schedule.
“I've been doing about 80 percent at practice, and progressively they're increasing the intensity,” he said. “I'm feeling great, so it all depends on what the coach plans.”
Head coach Robert Warzycha said that the pair are “in” for Saturday's match against the Seattle Sounders, and noted that bringing both back into the lineup is “one of the possibilities.”
For Meram, who finally found a starting role after sitting on the bench for eight straight weeks, to be out of the lineup was his worst case scenario.
“It's really frustrating to be away from the teammates when you're doing well and the team is doing well, and have to sit out when it's not based on performance,” he said.
Despite the team's upcoming three matches in eight days, Meram added that no part of him felt good about getting a break before the stretch.
“Not one bit. I wish I was there to battle with this team and maybe change the outcome," he said.
While Añor and Meram may return, the team will still be without veteran goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum, who has missed four straight matches with a nerve issue in his shoulder. Warzycha said that the 30-year-old 'keeper “probably needs another two weeks.”
Midfielder Matias Sanchez (calf) and forward Aaron Schoenfeld (shoulder) are both still recovering from injuries, and forward Federico Higuain will be unavailable for Saturday's match after picking up a two-game suspension for yellow card accumulation and a red card in last Saturday's loss to Houston.