OBETZ, Ohio – The grand experiment to make second-year Columbus Crew midfielder Bernardo Añor into a left back may be put on hold for awhile.
Head coach Robert Warzycha said Añor was undergoing tests Monday afternoon to determine the extent of a left knee injury suffered Saturday when he was knocked by Sporting Kansas City forward Kei Kamara in the 63rd minute.
“The tackle Kamara got on him actually may finish his season,” Warzycha told MLSsoccer.com on Monday.
Añor finished the match but was in pain afterward and had ice on the knee while being interviewed. He made his first career start at left back in the 2-0 loss and, although he has played some reserve matches there, it was only his second appearance at that spot in an MLS match.
“Since preseason, they have been training me at that position,” Añor said. “I am really comfortable with it.”
He took the place of Nemanja Vukovic while Josh Williams made his first start as a right back for Sebastián Miranda as Warzycha looked for speed and attacking ability from his outside backs. Añor led the team with three shots and had one of the four shots on goal but he and Williams made errors that led to SKC goals.
“We had two turnovers and they scored two goals,” Warzycha said. “I don’t think they created any chances. We gave it to them. ”
That Añor got hurt playing left back was apropos for a defensive unit that has lost a total of 59 games due to injuries. Rich Balchan has missed all 17; Julius James 14; Carlos Mendes 12 and Danny O’Rourke and Chad Marshall eight each.
A second look
The Crew will likely ask the league’s Disciplinary Committee to review Kamara’s challenge on Añor, but Crew forward Emilio Rentería will also come under scrutiny.
He got into a skirmish with Paulo Nagamura in the 69th minute and both received yellow cards, but Rentería head-butted the midfielder as well and could face a suspension.
“He has to be smarter,” Warzycha said of his forward. “A player is responsible for his actions on the field.”
The Crew (6-7-4) are in a race they would rather not be in, but their 17 goals in 17 games puts them tied for the same number league-leader Chris Wondolowski has scored for San Jose.
To be fair, Wondolowski has played one more match, but the Crew’s offensive sputtering is still evident. What can they do to not be outscored by one player?
“We’ve got to get Chris Wondolowski,” Warzycha joked.