Crew adjust to Wingert suspension

COLUMBUS, Ohio - In the Columbus Crew's final match under the reins of Greg Andrulis, captain Robin Fraser earned a yellow card that pushed him over the caution point limit and into a suspension for the next match, which ended up being the first under interim coach Robert Warzycha.

In that match, a 1-1 draw at Chicago, Chris Wingert moved into Fraser's position as the central defender and maintained it even after Fraser returned.

In every match since Fraser returned from that suspension, Warzycha has surrounded Wingert with Chad Marshall and Fraser. However, the back line consistency is about to end this weekend as Chris Wingert is suspended for the match against FC Dallas following a yellow card in the 2-1 loss to the MetroStars last Sunday.

With Wingert out, the Crew are forced to make a change and although Marshall and Fraser are capable of filling the central role, Warzycha is likely to opt for not directly replacing the suspended defender.

"I think it will be a rotation," said Warzycha.

As Fraser likely slides back into the center where he has spent the majority of his MLS career, an outside back spot opens. Warzycha is not ruling out of any of remaining available defenders.

"Ryan Kelly, Mark Schulte, Domenic Mediate, Frankie Hejduk are the possibilities," said Warzycha.

When Fraser was suspended, Schulte got the nod in the backline. However, Hejduk has been away from the Crew for a large amount of time due to international duty. In order to give the Crew the best squad possible, Warzycha is waiting to see how things develop before making the final decision.

"I am trying to put the best team on the field every time out," said Warzycha.

While the Crew have only had a handful of expulsions and a couple of suspensions to yellow card pileup, Fraser points out that they and injuries are nothing new to the Crew.

"You are always going to have guys out due to injuries or suspensions," said Fraser.

The Crew could be without Kyle Martino for an upcoming match as he is only one caution point away from a suspension, which means that his next booking will certainly result in a one-match ban.

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

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