Columbus pass on familiar faces in Stage 2 of Re-Entry

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Crew didn't dip into Stage 2 of the Re-Entry Draft on Monday, but that doesn’t mean they’ve stopped pursuing players to fill the few available spots on the senior roster.

“We’ve only got – in our first 20 – basically three openings, and we plan on filling those openings with guys outside the league, who we feel will make the group better,” Columbus technical director Brian Bliss told MLSsoccer.com on Monday. “Not that some of those guys in there couldn’t make us better, but some of them were known quantities for so long that we thought we would take our chances with guys outside the league.”

The Crew are searching for a playmaking midfielder and at least one forward, as well as depth at left back.

“We’re sitting on some paperwork with a player and his agent,” Bliss said. “Probably between Christmas and New Year’s Eve we hope to get one of them done and out there.”

That would be similar timing to the signing of Chilean defender Sebastián Miranda nearly a year ago on Dec. 30.

Bliss also said the Crew are considering adding several Home Grown players, a group that includes North Carolina junior Ben Speas, who scored the lone goal in Sunday’s College Cup title match.

“He’s on our list for sure,” Bliss said. “A lot comes down to him. I know he transferred down there [from Akron where he won the College Cup in 2010], and I don’t know his college credits situation and if he wants to complete his last year and maybe graduate. He also has to weigh, ‘How much can I make today as opposed to how much I can make if I wait a year?’”

Meanwhile, Bliss reported no change in talks with out-of-contract midfielders Emmanuel Ekpo and Robbie Rogers.

“There’s no deadline, but we’re not holding any spots,” Bliss said. “We’re aggressively going after some guys to try and fill those spots.”

Head coach Robert Warzycha is currently Germany and his native Poland until Dec. 19 to talk to agents and gather a list of prospects.