Crew asking for help to boost depleted goalkeeping corps

Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum

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OBETZ, Ohio – The Crew will seek help from the league to solve their goalkeeping dilemma, as they are now left with just one 'keeper with MLS experience, for the remainder of the season.

With William Hesmer likely out for the season following microfracture surgery on his right hip last week, the club’s two active ‘keepers are Andy Gruenebaum and rookie Matt Lampson.

SAVE: Gruenebaum makes fine save

The Crew would like to add a third by having the league sign and assign a pool goalkeeper to Columbus, technical director Brian Bliss told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday.

“When called upon he’d have to leave on occasion to Philly or New York or wherever but at least we’d have him for a good portion of the year,” Bliss said.

A pool goalkeeper trains with one club but is available on an emergency basis to all teams. The Crew used Chase Harrison as a backup for the 2010 playoffs when Hesmer dislocated his right shoulder in the last regular season game.

Last season emergency goalie Chris Konopka – who was based with the New York Red Bulls – was called into action when starter Andy Gruenebaum was red-carded for a handball in a friendly against Newcastle United.

Bliss said the Crew doesn’t want to add another fulltime goalie to the roster because it would adversely affect the salary cap and would hurt their chances to acquire additional field players, including a possible Designated Player.

“It’s a unique situation,” coach Robert Warzycha said.

The team is already paying 31 players with the addition of forward Aaron Schonfeld. He was added to the 30-man roster when Rich Balchan was placed on the disabled list but Schonfeld’s spot is secure for now because forward Tommy Heinemann also underwent season-ending microfracture surgery on his left knee last week.

“We don’t have the (salary cap) room,” Bliss said. “We could create the room but it would cause a big ripple effect in the roster because we’ve already got one replacement guy, Schonfeld. It just keeps costing you money.”

Bliss is hopeful the club’s proposal will be approved as early as Friday.

“That’s the way it’s got to work,” he said. “Otherwise we’ve got to take on $35,000 or $40,000 ourselves. We can’t afford to do it.

“We’ll talk to the league about it but we’ve got to find the guy we want and somebody the league wants, too. Ultimately, they’ll be paying him and loaning him out eventually for another club for a day or two.”

The team has looked at a pair of recent college graduates for the league to consider.

Bliss said if the Crew does get a pool goalkeeper and he is assigned elsewhere on a temporary basis the team could bring in some of their academy goalies for practices.

Currently, former Chicago Fire Supplemental Draft pick Carl Woszczynski is training with the Crew and was Lampson’s backup for a reserve match Saturday at Philadelphia.