Crew eager to test Veeder's defensive mettle

COLUMBUS – The Crew added depth at right back without lifting a finger Tuesday.

Despite having only a 19.3 percent chance in the weighted lottery held at MLS headquarters in New York City, the Crew acquired U.S. Under-20 midfielder Korey Veeder. Columbus won over Toronto FC (45.52 percent chance), the Seattle Sounders (24.83 percent) and the Colorado Rapids (10.34 percent)for the rights to the St. Petersburg, Fla. native.

“We’re happy to get him because that’s still a need for us in terms of right back,” Crew technical director Brian Bliss said.

The Crew did not re-sign World Cup veteran Frankie Hejduk in the offseason before signing Chilean Sebastian Miranda to the position.

There is not a lot of cover behind Miranda, however, especially with Danny O’Rourke still out after undergoing knee surgery in November.

One possibility had been recent MLS SuperDraft pick Rich Balchan, but the Indiana product has impressed at center back.

Bliss admitted not knowing a great deal about Veeder, 19, who played for Crystal Palace Baltimore (USSF D-2) last season.

“We were able to see him live during the (MLS) combine,” Bliss said. “The U-20s had an intra-squad scrimmage and he played the second half. His best spot is probably right back, but he can be a utility guy anywhere across the backline.

“In the (USSF D-2) he could probably get away at centerback, but at the MLS level he’s a bit undersized.”

Bliss also stressed that Veeder could be an option at defensive midfielder.

Veeder hopes to join the Crew in Columbus for training next week and later in Atlanta, but he will rejoin the U-20s in late March for the CONCACAF qualifying tournament in Guatemala leading up to the FIFA U-20 World Cup in July.

Bliss is happy to exchange the short term absences for a possible future benefit.

“At his age and if he continues to develop with the Under 20’s and the training we’ll be able to give him in reserve action, down the road he could be a potential player for us in the first team,” Bliss said.


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