Bernardo Anor back in Columbus Crew fold, but may have lost his starting spot
COLUMBUS, Ohio – After serving his one-game suspension for a red card in the Crew's heated April 19 draw with D.C. United, Bernardo Añor is available for selection once again for Columbus's visit to Sporting Kansas City on Sunday (4 pm ET, NBCSN, free stream on NBCSports.com).
And while he and his coach Gregg Berhalter both agreed that it wasn't a smart play, both agree that there's nothing in the Venezuelan's game that needs changing.
“It's part of the game,” Añor said. “With the red card I had to sit one game out, but the team did pretty well and hopefully we can keep going with that momentum.”
Berhalter said he had a short conversation with Añor last week, but both men made it clear that the rash challenge wasn't something worth dwelling on.
“You move forward from it,” Añor said. “It's in the past, it's a red card, you make a better decision next time, and that's it.
“It happens. It could happen to everyone. I've just got to be smarter, stay focused, keep my mind on the game. It's always important to have all 11 guys on the field, so it's important that we all stay focused and concentrated for whatever the game does.”
Añor's presence was missed in a Crew lineup that had a bit less firepower in the game day 18 than usual, and Berhalter said it's good to have the Venezuelan back.
“Bernie's a solid performer, he's been performing well for us all year,” he said. “He gets in good positions between the lines, he's physical, he has good strength, he's good in the air, he has a lot of positive qualities.”
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But the emergence of former supersub Justin Meram – who Berhalter said played, “really well,” in Añor's absence – and the consistency of Hector Jimenez may make it difficult for Añor to break back into the team when they travel to Kansas City, though Berhalter knows each of his wide options gives the Crew a different skill set.
“When we look at the guys we have in those positions, the interesting thing is that they all have different qualities,” Berhalter said. “And it gives us a lot of flexibility as a coaching staff, because we can emphasize different things with different personnel on the field.”
Just 24 hours before the team left for Kansas City, even Añor wasn't sure where his place would be in his first game back.
“I don't know,” he said. “It's the coach's decision. We'll see.”