The Columbus Crew announced the signing of 28-year-old defender Tyson Wahl earlier today. Wahl is a former U.S. U-17 national team player. He started for the U.S. in a 2-0 loss to Nigeria during the 2001 FIFA U-17 World Championship. Also on that U.S. team was current Crew defender Chad Marshall, who started two games in the same tournament.
Wahl has played seven seasons in MLS. He began his MLS career in Kansas City. After three years with the Wizards, he was selected by the Seattle Sounders in the 2008 MLS Expansion draft. In 2011, Wahl had his best season as a professional. He started 22 games for the Sounders at left-back, scoring 1 goal and picking up 2 assists. Before the 2012 season, Wahl was traded to Montreal in exchange for allocation money. He started 11 games for the Impact before again being traded on July 13th, this time to the Colorado Rapids. Wahl only made four appearances with the Rapids and was released at the end of the season. He entered the recent MLS Re-Entry Draft but was passed on in both rounds.
Here is a clip of Wahl’s first and only MLS goal. It came from a beautiful bending free kick, one of Wahl’s strengths:
Wahl’s base salary was $65,000 in 2012, and his guaranteed compensation was a little over $86,000. For that price, he provides a great option at left-back, as he is naturally left-footed. He has over 80 games of MLS experience. Wahl can also fill in at center back, giving the Crew much-needed depth in defense. As of now, Wahl has a good chance of being Columbus’ starting left-back unless the team adds another higher-caliber player at the position before the beginning of the season.
The Crew still only have four defenders on its roster: Chad Marshall, Josh Williams, Eric Gehrig, and Wahl. Granted, Danny O’Rourke can also play anywhere across the back line, but he is more suited for the holding midfielder position. In the later stages of last year, Crew head coach Robert Warzycha also tried wide midfielders Bernardo Anor and Ethan Finlay at full-back.
Adding to the Crew’s defensive worries, Sebastian Miranda, Columbus’ starting right-back for the past two seasons, will not be returning for 2013. Miranda’s contract was not picked up at the end of the season and contract negotiations fell through with the team, according to this article on the Crew’s website. He is rumored to be close to signing with his former team Universidad Católica in his native Chile.
Milovan Mirosevic is another Columbus player speculated to be returning to Universidad Católica in his home country. Crew technical director Brian Bliss refuted the rumor in the article linked above and seems assured that Mirosevic will be back next year, as the midfielder’s contract with the team is through the 2013 season. However, that does not mean he is guaranteed to return to Ohio. Universidad Católica would have to pay a transfer fee to get Mirosevic back before his current contract is up.