Gregg Berhalter is deep in thought
USA Today Sports

With open roster spot after trade, Columbus Crew seeking reinforcements for World Cup departures

OBETZ, Ohio – After trading forward Ryan Finley to Chivas USA for a conditional second round pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, Columbus Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter is expecting reinforcements as the summer approaches.

Berhalter confirmed that the move to open a roster spot indicated Columbus' willingness to bring a player in. And while he said the team’s recent scoring drought didn't “necessarily” mean the team would be looking for a forward, he didn't deny it either.

“Obviously, that's been a position we said we were going to look for anyway, and that is on our list,” Berhalter told reporters after training Friday.

And while he said he hasn’t heard any news about World Cup hopefuls Michael Parkhurst, Jairo Arrieta, Giancarlo Gonzalez or Waylon Francis, Berhalter said that a move could come in time to replace their lineup spots while they're in Brazil.

“The other part is we might be losing three guys to the World Cup for five, six games,” he said. “So there's a chance you might want to bolster some of those positions. You never know how quick these things can happen.”

For the Crew and Finley, the deal was mutually beneficial. And while reports suggested Finley wasn't pleased with being sent on loan to USL PRO side Dayton Dutch Lions, the Chivas deal gives him another chance in MLS.

“If he has a chance to play meaningful minutes in MLS and we have a chance to save some money on our cap and get a roster spot, it made sense for both of us,” Berhalter said. “So we're happy to put him in a position to get games again.”

Berhalter said that neither the Crew nor Finley were looking for the move, but the Crew’s first-round pick from the 2013 SuperDraft was in good spirits when they spoke of the deal.

“He sounded excited at the opportunity to play,” Berhalter said. “Everyone wants to be on the big stage.”

How imminent are any potential moves that the Crew may make to replace his roster spot? Berhalter isn't sure, and said the team didn't have anyone specific in mind.

“We're always working on that,” he said. “We have conversations and that's a constant thing. But things can escalate.”

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