Early injuries to Artur, Alex Crognale hamper Crew SC in loss at New York

HARRISON, N.J.—Two first-half injuries had major ramifications on Columbus Crew SC in their 2-0 loss at the New York Red Bulls on Saturday night, with the team looking slow and out of sorts after losing Artur and Alex Crognale early at Red Bull Arena.

Especially worrisome for Crew SC? Artur’s injury could be significant.

In the game’s opening minute, the defensive midfielder suffered a broken wrist that forced him off after spending several minutes down on the field. In his first season in MLS, the 21-year-old Brazilian has seven starts in eight appearances and increasingly has grown in confidence in recent weeks. On loan from Sao Paolo FC, he’s adjusted nicely to the league, pairing well with Wil Trapp and picking his spots to go forward well.

“It’s a shame that in the first minute that we had to substitute Artur,” said Crew SC head coach Gregg Berhalter. “He’s been doing great so far and we were looking forward to seeing how he was going to react in this game.

“It’s unfortunate, he was injured pretty badly. It’s a broken wrist, it doesn’t look good.”

Crognale was also lost in the first half due to injury, subbed out in the 39th minute. The postgame update on the rookie center back was more positive, as Berhalter said he suffered “an ankle sprain. Not as serious.”

The injuries certainly seemed to take Columbus out of their flow, leading to a first half where New York had the run of play and possession, scoring in the 11th and 38th minutes. To their credit, Crew SC battled back, with the pendulum swinging towards the visitors in the second half.

Crew SC held the decided edge in possession in the second half (68.9 percent), creating several solid opportunities in the final third. Considering the tough blows suffered in the first half to the center of their midfield and the backline, it showed fortitude.

Still, Berhalter didn’t make any excuses for his team, which entered leading the Eastern Conference.

“On the night, [New York] were the better team, let’s be clear about it,” Berhalter said. “They deserved to win this game and we came up short.”