Ben Speas
Gregg Newton/Disney

Speas impresses in second career start

COLUMBUS -- Crew coach Robert Warzycha isn't sure if midfielder Eddie Gaven will return from a one-game absence due to an ankle injury for Saturday's home opener against San Jose but he was pleased with the performance of his replacement Ben Speas.

The Homegrown player made his second career start, first in a meaningful game, after Gaven was injured in practice late last week.

Speas, who made his MLS debut by starting the 2012 season finale against Toronto FC after both teams had failed to qualify for the playoffs, got his first career point last Saturday at Vancouver when he set up the tying goal by Jairo Arrieta in the 46th minute.

He also had a late service in the box that Dominic Oduro couldn't convert into the equalizer in the 2-1 loss to level the Crew's record at 1-1.

"We were very happy with what we wanted him to do," Warzycha told on Monday. "He was dangerous in areas you're supposed to be dangerous. He made the passes and moved the ball."

Still, it was unusual not to see Gaven's No. 12 flying down the flanks. He had started 38 straight regular season games since Oct. 2, 2011, when he came back after missing five games with a lower leg contusion to score the winner vs. D.C. United.

"He's the kind of player who makes everybody around him better," Warzycha said. "He does so much work."

The coach called Gaven a "quick healer" but nonetheless didn't want him playing on the turf at BC Place and sent him home before the match for further evaluation.

"We don't know yet if he is going to be ready for the opener," Warzycha said.


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