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Crew Roster Begins to Take Shape

The Columbus Crew announced today that it has exercised the contract options on 14 players from its 2013 roster, while four others were already under contract for next season, giving the club a roster that currently features 18 players.

The Crew picked-up the options of goalkeepers Matt Lampson and Daniel Withrow; defenders Chad Barson, Eric Gehrig and Tyson Wahl; midfielders Bernardo Anor, Ethan Finlay, Kevan George, Justin Meram, Shawn Sloan, Ben Speas and Tony Tchani; and forwards Ryan Finley and Aaron Schoenfeld.

The Black & Gold simultaneously announced that it has declined the contract options of defenders Drew Beckie, Glauber, Kyle Hyland; defender/midfielder Danny O’Rourke; midfielder Konrad Warzycha; and forward Jairo Arrieta. Contract options were also declined on midfielder Matias Sanchez and forward Aaron Horton, a move that was previously announced in October. Both players are eligible for next week’s MLS Waiver Draft, taking place on Monday, November 25.

“The process of building our 2014 roster is now underway,” said Crew Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. “Unfortunately, as part of that process difficult decisions are required. While we’ve declined options on certain players, we will continue conversations with those individuals to potentially return to the club next season. We look forward to shaping the team in the weeks ahead of preseason training camp.”

O’Rourke is eligible for the MLS Re-Entry Process, which begins after MLS Cup on December 7. A full list of players eligible for the Re-Entry Process will be announced by MLS at a later date.

Goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum, forward Dominic Oduro and defender Josh Williams are out of contract. The Crew is currently in discussions with all three players, and future roster announcements will be made in the coming weeks.

The Crew’s current roster follows:

Goalkeepers (2): Matt Lampson, Daniel Withrow

Defenders (5): Chad Barson, Eric Gehrig, Chad Marshall, Agustin Viana, Tyson Wahl

Midfielders (8): Bernardo Anor, Ethan Finlay, Kevan George, Justin Meram, Shawn Sloan, Ben Speas, Tony Tchani, Wil Trapp

Forwards (3): Federico Higuain, Ryan Finley, Aaron Schoenfeld

Win #1 for Bliss

Photo Credit: Jeff Gossel/

Tonight was a start of a new era for Columbus following the sacking of Robert Warzycha as head coach on Monday and the new era started with a morale-boosting 2-0 win over Houston. Though the outcome could have been very different if Will Bruin had found his shooting boots after a poor first half from the Crew.

Houston should have been three goals to the good within the first 15 minutes of the game with the Crew defense serving up chances at will. First Eric Gehrig let Bruin get a toe to a ball he should have cleared as he rounded Matt Lampson in the Crew goal, but the weak shot was cleared by the retreating Chad Barson.

Bruin again found himself free minutes later after a long ball over the top of the Crew defense, but he hit his shot wide of the goal. He was then presented with his third chance on 11 minutes with Gehrig again at fault. He failed to clear a long ball which Bruin stole and was clean through on goal, though it was not third time is the charm as his shot rose high over the bar.

Photo Credit: Jeff Gossel/

Columbus finally started to create some chances as the half went on with Ryan Finley and Justin Meram testing the Houston keeper. The Crew’s best chance of the half fell to Dominic Oduro when Brad Davis of Houston played a poor crossfield ball which Oduro intercepted, but he overran the ball allowing Tally Hall to come out and block the resulting shot.

The second half was a different story for the Crew as they came out with an intensity that was missing in the first half and were rewarded immediately. Finley scored his first professional goal after some fine work from Bernardo Anor. He found Meram free on the left side of the box, who unselfishly squared for Finley to place into an empty net.

It should have been 2-0 just moments later after a soft penalty was awarded after a tug on Oduro’s shirt in the box. Finley, buoyant from his first-ever goal in the pros, stepped up to take the resulting kick, but his poor effort was easily saved by Hall.

The second goal finally came on 74 minutes when Oduro’s cross was awkwardly hit by Finley and fell kindly to Meram to dispatch his shot across Hall into the far corner. This capped a fine performance from Meram.

“Justin has individual talent a lot of guys don’t have in carving balls and slipping by guys, creating his own shots,” Crew Interim Head Coach Brian Bliss stated. “He can do that, whether he was doing it better the last six months or was doing it better today, I’ll leave you guys to judge that, he’s got that in his game, he just happened to be on today for lack of a better term.”

Houston never threatened to come back in the game and were looking tired with this their second away game in three days.

Match Photos

Crew Finishes Road Swing with Hard-Earned 2-2 Draw at New York

Columbus Crew captain Federico Higuain converted a 74th-minute penalty kick, but the Black & Gold (4-4-4, 16 points) conceded a 91st-minute equalizer and were unable to secure a full three points in a 2-2 draw at the New York Red Bulls (7-4-4, 25 points) on Sunday at Red Bull Arena.

The Crew got off to a fast start as Dominic Oduro scored his team-leading sixth goal of the campaign in just the second minute, but the Ghanaian was also injured on the play with a thigh contusion and left the game six minutes later.

A perfectly-chipped Thierry Henry goal in the 31st-minute leveled the score at the half before Higuain buried his attempt from the spot in the 74th-minute after Justin Meram was awarded the call. New York’s Jamison Olave’s effort in stoppage time sealed the match at 2-2. With the draw, Robert Warzycha’s side has now earned points in five of its first seven road matches (3-2-2) in 2013.

The Black & Gold return to Columbus this week to face the Dayton Dutch Lions in U.S. Open Cup play on Wednesday, May 29 (7:30 p.m. ET / Live stream on and then resumes MLS action at Crew Stadium when the Crew hosts the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, June 1 (7:30 p.m. ET / FOX Sports Ohio).

Crew Players Accompany Heroes on Hospital Visit

After a routine morning practice, several Columbus Crew players, including Copley’s own Josh Williams, took time to visit the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.

“This is my first time ever doing this,” Williams said. “It’s awesome just to see a child’s face light up when you walk into the room.” Not only were patients treated to the sights of the Black and Gold, but they also met some of Columbus’ finest as Engine 2 firefighters accompanied members of the Crew.

“It was a great experience,” Williams added. “It humbles me a great deal. I am so thankful for everything I have. I am thankful for this opportunity.”

Williams, Chris Birchall, Cole Grossman, and Justin Meram spent the afternoon meeting with children at the hospital. It was an important event for all involved and a demonstration that the Crew are much more than a club. They are a family that deeply cares for the community they play for each and every day.

Event Photos