The Crew wrapped up their week of preseason training in Bradenton, Florida, on Friday morning. After defeating D.C. United by a score of 1-0 last Saturday, Columbus then beat the Chicago Fire 2-1 on Wednesday before losing to the New York Red Bulls yesterday, 2-0.
In the game against Chicago, Federico Higuaín opened the scoring for Columbus in the 21st minute with a penalty kick goal. Midfielder Eddie Gaven earned the spot kick after being tackled in the box by Fire trialist goalie Neal Kitson. Crew trialist Sercan Güvenisik doubled the lead for Columbus in the 61st minute after finishing a beautiful cross from Ethan Finlay. The goal was Güvenisik’s second in as many games. However, he pulled his hamstring and did not feature in the game against New York. The Crew nearly held on to a clean sheet, but Chicago SuperDraft pick Yazid Atouba blasted a goal in the 89th minute, ending the game 2-1.
Higuaín wore the captain’s armband for Columbus despite last year’s captain Chad Marshall being on the field at the same time.
Here is the video of the entire game against Chicago:
Yesterday, the Crew gave up two late goals to the New York Red Bulls. Ian Christianson scored in the 80th minute, and Kenny Cooper scored in the 87th minute.
Columbus’ first three preseason games are encouraging. The first-team defense did not allow any goals against the opponents’ first-team offenses, and recent signee Gláuber is just only joining the team upon their return to Ohio. While the offense has only scored one goal in the run of play, trialist Sercan Güvenisik has impressed. Also, Jairo Arrieta, the Crew’s leading scorer last year with nine goals, is still with the Costa Rican national team for World Cup qualifying.
In hopes of boosting their attack even more, the Crew traded troubled midfielder Dilly Duka to Chicago on Friday for speedy forward Dominic Oduro. In Duka’s three years with the team, he recorded two goals and five assists in 45 games. He always had more potential than production. A prime reason for that may have been because he was being played out of position. Duka is at his best playing as a withdrawn forward, but he was stuck on the wings last season. Tension between Duka and the coaching staff has been building for a while. In this Columbus Dispatch article last week, Robert Warzycha says about Duka, “Whether he’s happy or not happy, I don’t really care about that.” The Crew also traded allocation money and the rights of former midfielder Robbie Rogers to the Fire if he decides to return to MLS.
Dominic Oduro has spent the past two seasons in Chicago. Before that, he played with the Houston Dynamo, the New York Red Bulls, and FC Dallas. In 2011, Oduro scored 12 goals for the Fire. Last year, he scored six goals and dished out three assists. Oduro is still only 27 years old and is arguably the fastest player in MLS. He gives the Crew experienced depth at forward and a great late-game option to terrorize defenses.
The team will return to Columbus for a few days of training before heading back to Florida for their first game against Toronto FC in the Walt Disney Pro Soccer Classic on February 9th.