Crew Offseason Full of Acquisitions and Allocation Cash

USMNT midfielder Parkhurst acquisition highlights roster shakeup
by Al DiFranco   |   Wednesday, January 15, 2014

John Hefti Photography - Columbus Crew, Labor Strike, MLS, SoccerNewsday

A few days ago, I wrote a column highlighting the Crew’s options with the fourth pick in the upcoming MLS SuperDraft. All that got blown up by the trade to acquire Michael Parkhurst, and another trade earlier today has made things even more interesting leading into this week’s draft.

Here is my take on the 2 latest roster moves, a brief draft preview and how the Starting XI looking in March.

Trade away

The Columbus Crew started this week by trading their first round pick (fourth overall) in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft and allocation money to New England Revolution for rights to Michael Parkhurst.

Parkhurst gives the Crew instant credibility in the backline, which was necessary given Chad Marshall’s departure in a trade to Seattle earlier in the offseason. Parkhurst joins the Crew in hopes of getting playing time in advance of the World Cup, where he could play an important reserve role and possibly even sneak in at RB.

With the Crew, indications are the Parkhurst will play CB, replacing Marshall. While Parkhurst wouldn’t bring the same kind of set piece threat, he is a better distributor of the ball than Marshall.

Look for Parkhurst to immediately step into the Crew’s starting lineup and provide some much needed leadership and stability on the pitch.

The Crew also traded their second round picked (23rd overall) and allocation money to the Los Angeles Galaxy for a first round pick (14th overall) and midfielder Hector Jimenez.

After dealing the fourth overall pick away in the Parkhurst trade, indications were that the Crew was looking to get back into the first round, and that was achieved in this deal.

Not only did this deal provide the Crew with a first round pick, it also brought them Jimenez, a 25-year-old midfielder who is most effective on the wing. Jimenez has seen inconsistent playing time for the Galaxy over the past couple seasons, but he should be contend favorably in a group of mostly central midfielders.

Looking at the draft
With this deal, the Crew now own the 14th and 42nd selections in this week’s draft. The first pick will be made on Thursday, while the second pick will be on Friday.

Look for the Crew to once again look for an offensive-minded player as most of this offseason’s moves have been focused on the backline (trading away Marshall, re-signing Josh Williams, acquiring Waylon Francis and Michael Parkhurst).

The best draft-eligible attacking players who may be available with the 14th overall pick as I see the draft progressing are: Mamadou Diouf (UConn), Mark Sherrod (Memphis), Victor Chavez (UCLA) and Reinaldo Brenes (Akron).

Diouf is an intriguing prospect. He is coming off a disappointing, injury-filled campaign, but he has the potential to be a solid, hold up forward to team with Dominic Oduro. He is probably the most physically gifted player in the bunch and would be my choice, assuming he is available.

Opening day

Given what the Crew has done in this off-season, here’s what I envision the lineup looking like for the opener in DC on March 8 (basically a 4-3-1-2 lineup):

GK - Steve Clark
RB - Chad Barson
CB - Michael Parkhurst, Josh Williams
LB - Waylon Francis
MF - Bernardo Anor, Daniel Paladini, Will Trapp
CAM - Federico Higuain
F – Jairo Arrieta, Dominic Oduro

NEXT UP: March 8 – Columbus Crew vs. D.C. United, RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C. 7 p.m. EST, MLS Live.

Al DIFRANCO

Nationality:
USA
College:
Ohio State
Club Domestic:
Columbus Crew
Club Foreign:
AC Milan, Everton
Passionate fan of the USMNT, Al is a member of the Cleveland Chapter of the American Outlaws. He also loves to follow and discuss Premier League and Serie A. Named his daughter Mia after a certain soccer legend.
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