Reserve division a blessing for Crew

With their first match in the MLS reserve division coming up this weekend, Columbus Crew coach Greg Andrulis once again tried to give his reserves a little playing time on Wednesday night in the Fourth Annual Connor Senn Memorial Match against Ohio State University.

Unfortunately, inclement weather forced abandonment of the match at halftime with no goals on the board. But it still provided a valuable run-out for the Crew's reserves ahead of their first match in the reserve league on Sunday in Denver against the Colorado Rapids reserves. Andrulis said he is excited for the beginning of the reserve league because of both the extra minutes to spread around the roster and the increased roster size.

"It is going to be awesome. We had a game last week in Cincinnati (a 2-1 win against the USL Second Division Kings) and we got a lot guys a lot of minutes," Andrulis said. "Unfortunately tonight, the game was cut short, but some guys got minutes. It will help the development of players at this level."

Despite the roster expansion to 28 players, Columbus might like an even bigger increase. Already missing Ross Paule and Stephen Herdsman with long-term injuries, the Crew announced on Wednesday morning that Duncan Oughton would miss the entire 2005 campaign with a right knee injury.

Although disappointed with the news, the New Zealander said, "I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I will come back better next year."

The Black & Gold figure their entire roster will never be entirely available.

"There are always going to be injuries, issues, suspensions, and national team call-ups," said Andrulis. "You have to manage it the best you can.

Thankfully, the majority of matches are scheduled early and late in the season when the teams will not be low on players because of the CONCACAF Gold Cup and the FIFA World Youth Championship that occur during the summer months.

Against Ohio State, the MLS side was unable to finish on several quality chances, as Dante Washington twice hit the post. He half-volleyed one off of the woodwork from 20 yards, then late in the half, gathered a loose ball at the penalty spot following a corner kick and again struck the post.

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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