Soccer can be a cruel sport at times. All you have to do is ask the Columbus Crew, who has been battling an injury bug for the last month and a half. The Crew started the season with multiple players battling injuries and the side is yet to have a clean bill of health heading into a match with the likes of center back Josh Williams yet to play a game.
After left wing back Will Sands tore his ACL in the 1-0 loss to Charlotte FC on April 22, and was ruled out for the remainder of the season, the Black & Gold have seen players come and go off of the injury list. Unfortunately, there have been more come onto the injury list than go off.
With Sands being the most notable injury, given the length of the recovery, the question remains on multiple players who have missed time or had to leave a match with an apparent injury in recent games. Even a week off hasn’t helped Columbus’ injury list.
Here is what we know about some of the key players who face injury questions coming out of the 5-1 U.S. Open Cup win against Loudoun United FC on Wednedsay and prior to Saturday’s game against Orlando City SC. Eloy Room, Alex Matan, Milos Degenek and Steven Moreira. Throw in defender Philip Quinton who came off with an apparent injury during the Crew’s 5-1 win over Loudoun United in the U.S. Open Cup round of 32 match, things don’t seem to be too good as Columbus prepares for multiple double game weeks.
The goalkeeper has been out since March with a knee injury for a few weeks suffered while he was on international duty. Room last played for the Black & Gold in the 2-1 loss to the New York Bulls nearly two months ago. According to head coach Wilfried Nancy, Room “has been working towards getting back with the team and his condition remains the same.”
Room did briefly return to training but has not been seen on the field with his teammates during sessions open to the media in multiple weeks as the knee continues to be an issue.
In Room’s absence, second-year pro Patrick Schulte has started and played well, so there hasn’t been a need to rush the veteran goalkeeper back. Columbus would prefer him to be 100 percent when he does return.
Quinton left the Open Cup match against Loudoun in the second half after an awkward fall that appeared to injure his ankle. He quickly signaled for trainers to come on to the field and did not much weight on his injured left when leaving the field.
Nancy spoke on Thursday and said that Quinton’s injury is “not as bad” as it had appeared during the game but he had not spoken with the medical staff. It remains up in the air if the center back will be able to go against Orlando on Saturday.
The attacking midfielder came out of the loss to Inter Miami at halftime with an apparent injury. This week, Nancy said that Matan is “okay” and that the week off allowed the Romanian time to get healthy.
The Australian center back also went down in the Crew’s 2-1 loss to Miami, coming out of the match in the 13th minute. The original injury appeared to happen on Inter’s first goal when Degenek stretched to block the shot and he could not carry on for long after. “He still has pain a bit, so we’ll see for this week,” Nancy said of Degenek.
Moreira also came off during the game against Miami, being substituted in the 69h minute and seen limping in the locker room after the match. “He’s progressing well, so we’ll be able to see if he is a go for Saturday,” said Nancy.
If Quinton, Degenek and Moreira can’t go against OCSC, Nancy will have to get creative with his center backs. In the Open Cup match, Nancy played wing back Malte Amundsen at left center back and moved Gustavo Vallecilla to right center back.
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