Midfielder Eddie Gaven was signed to a two-year contract last Friday. In all competitions this year, Gaven had five goals and two assists. The 25 year old has already played nine MLS seasons, the last six of those coming with Columbus. Gaven is one of, if not the most, consistent players for the Crew every game and is always one of the first players on the lineup card.
Kevin Burns, Emmanuel Ekpo, and Robbie Rogers are the Crew’s other three free agents. Burns isn’t expected to resign, but the Crew might make an offer to him if they are lacking depth later in the offseason. Ekpo and Rogers are both currently exploring options in Europe. After the U.S. men’s national game in Slovenia this Tuesday in which Rogers came on in stoppage time, the winger traveled to Bundesliga club Kaiserslautern for a two week training session. Many Crew fans think Rogers doesn’t have the technical skill to compete in one of Europe’s top leagues. To quote the genius that is Chris LaMacchia: “Robbie has a great future in Europe. At the corner flag.”
The Crew have already started making plans for next year’s preseason. The team committed to play in the 2012 Carolina Challenge Cup. The competition will take place between February 25th and March 4th. D.C. United, the Chicago Fire, and the Charleston Battery of the USL Pro Division will also be taking part. All of the games will be held at the Battery’s Blackbaud Stadium.
Columbus’ reserve team played their final game of the season on Tuesday morning at Crew Stadium. The reserves allowed an early goal to D.C. United, but they fought back to win, 3-1. With the win, the Crew reserves (already the Eastern Conference champions), clinched the best record in the league. Costa Rican trialist Walter Chevez scored the first goal, while Emilio Renteria and Bernardo Anor scored the other two. The Hudson Street Hooligans presented a trophy to the reserves after the game.
Captain Chad Marshall recently underwent surgery on his right ankle. The defender is expected to be able to start training again before next year’s preseason begins.