HIGUAIN, WILLIAMS OUT FOR SPORTING CLASH
Friday’s training session at the Crew’s Obetz practice facility was progressing as planned for Interim Head Coach Brian Bliss, until he learned that Designated Player Federico Higuain had tweaked his left adductor at the very end of the session. Though the injury is not considered serious, it forced Bliss and his support staff to make a last-minute decision to keep Higuain off the Kansas City trip for tonight’s clash with Sporting (8:30 p.m. ET / FOX Sports Ohio).
“It’s unfortunate, because [Higuain] was training really well this week and we were looking forward to having him back in the lineup,” said Bliss on Saturday. “We’re going to have to get it done without him on the road, and as long as our guys bring the type of effort they brought on Wednesday against Houston we’ll put ourselves in a position to win.”
Higuain was set to make his return to the Black & Gold following a two-match suspension for disciplinary reasons related to the Real Salt Lake match on August 24.
Meanwhile, the Crew will also be without defender Josh Williams for the second consecutive match. Williams sat out Wednesday’s game against Houston after sustaining contact to the head in Tuesday’s training session.
Said Bliss, “Josh is another one where we need to be cognizant of the type of injury he has. Anytime you’re dealing with a head injury you have to be careful and follow League guidelines. Josh is currently doing that and hopefully he'll be back very soon.”
A bright spot for Black & Gold fans? Midfield linchpin Wil Trapp is good to go this evening after leaving Wednesday’s match with a minor knee injury. MRI results were negative and Bliss will have the Homegrown Player at his disposal tonight.
Crew fans will see a familiar face on the sidelines tonight at Sporting Park, as Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum is currently with the team in his hometown. However, Gruenebaum is not in the gameday 18-man roster, as he continues his comeback from a shoulder injury suffered back in July. Instead, the Crew netminder is going to be assisting his fellow goalkeepers with their preparations.
Following the departure of former Head Coach Robert Warzycha and assistants Ricardo Iribarren and Vojislav Stanisic earlier this week, the Crew is leaning on various members of its support staff for assistance during this time of transition.
“Andy has been a constant for our club over the past eight seasons, and he’s one our team leaders,” said Bliss. “This is by no means a permanent solution, but we feel that Andy’s inherent knowledge of the game – and specifically the goalkeeper position – along with his close relationships with our players make him primed to assist our technical staff at this time.”
Gruenebaum echoes these sentiments, "'[Matt] Lampson knows I have a lot of experience that I can share with him, and he leans on me as much as I lean on him. We both can learn a lot from each other, which is important in the goalkeeper community. He's looking for good service and to keep the mood up-beat and I'll make sure he's ready to go and as prepared as he needs to be."