Crew's Fraser set to return vs. RSL

A Columbus Crew defense that has been leaking goals in bunches later has received some welcome news, as captain Robin Fraser is recovering from a left ankle sprain much more quickly than anticipated.

The Crew have allowed 11 goals in their last four matches -- including a 3-1 loss to D.C. United and a 4-0 loss to the Kansas City Wizards in their last two matches -- and the news comes much to the delight of Columbus Crew coach Greg Andrulis.

"It looks like Robin will be able to go this weekend," said Andrulis.

Fraser was injured during training in the week leading up to Crew's loss at D.C. United on May 7, and the 2004 MLS defender of the year has understandably been difficult to replace.

In the loss to D.C., Chris Wingert moved directly into Fraser's center back position. However, the Crew transitioned to 4-4-2 in their most recent match against the Kansas City Wizards.

Chad Marshall and Stephen Herdsman, two players that have predominantly played as outside backs, paired in the center. Three first-half goals by the Wizards caused Andrulis to revert back to their normal formation with Wingert again in the middle.

Fraser was supposed to out for 4-6 weeks, but his recovery is well ahead of schedule.

"It is much shorter than we had thought the time would be," said Andrulis. "It is great for us.

"Yesterday, we had a very intense practice and he was able to tolerate it without too much of a problem. Today was a good practice for him as well," said Andrulis. "As long as he doesn't have any flareups she should be good to go."

As Fraser will turn 40 during the next offseason, some might be surprised that the veteran is making such a quick return.

"When you are that old, I guess things back bounce back faster," said Andrulis.

John Kuhn is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.


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