COLUMBUS, Ohio — Crew officials have mentioned the same thing before, but coming after Saturday’s 0-0 draw against San Jose, they are certainly pursuing reinforcements during the open international transfer window.
“We’re looking to bring somebody to score goals,” head coach Robert Warzycha said.
Columbus, at 7-5-7, are third in the Eastern Conference race — three points back of leader Philadelphia — and they have salary cap space, an international spot and room available on the roster.
“We’re working on some things outside the league but we’re certainly not close to anything,” said technical director Brian Bliss.
However, a move was made Friday when defender Andy Iro and left midfielder Leandre Griffit — neither a starter — were sent to Toronto FC for Generation Adidas midfielder Tony Tchani. The Crew hope Tchani can work in tandem with central midfielder Emmanuel Ekpo as well as provide help on set pieces by using his 6-foot-4 frame. Bliss said the trade was not a precursor to something bigger.
“It does create some roster room, but this move wasn’t done to create that,” he said.
Recent international acquisitions would favor the Crew, and they are looking to South America for a striker. In the second half of the 2009 season, they signed Venezuelan Emilio Rentería. He was leading the team this season with four goals, until a left quadriceps strain he suffered on June 4 has kept him out of the lineup.
Sergio Herrera of Colombia was brought in prior to the 2010 season, but never really found his form and was released after three months. The Crew then signed Peruvian Andrés Mendoza in September. He has surpassed Rentería to take the goal lead with seven.
The Crew are desperate for offense, as they have been blanked seven times on the season and two of their three scoreless draws have been at home. They also have managed just one goal in the past three games.
ON THE MEND
Midfielder/defender Danny O’Rourke recovered from offseason knee surgery to start against Richmond in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup on June 28, and four days later went 21 minutes at FC Dallas. He is still recovering, though, and might not be available to play again for up to three weeks.
“He realized he’s not fit,” Warzycha said. “We’ll do more fitness with him first, shut him down from activities and go with his [training] program.”
• Tchani was to have his right knee examined Monday and did not travel to California. He hurt it after being tackled while playing for TFC against Houston on July 9.
• Rich Balchan was cleared to play Wednesday after missing two games with a left adductor strain.
• Defender Shaun Francis (left hamstring strain) and Renteria are expected to be available for Saturday’s game against Portland.
• Ekpo said Monday that reports are false that he has been called to Nigeria’s national team for their friendly in London against Ghana on August 9, although he is optimistic it will happen.