There is an old -and wise- saying in soccer: “When you build a team you
have to start from the back”. And that’s exactly what Gregg Berhalter, the Crew
head Coach and sporting director, is doing with bold moves.
Berhalter first sent his starter (and injury prone)
goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum to the MLS Champion Sporting Kansas City. Then he traded legendary (and concussion prone) defender Chad Marshall to the Seattle
Sounders raising a lot of questions in the black and gold nation.
solidly by signing Michael Parkhurst.
Berhalter knew he was not going to get the quality he needed in his back
line with a rookie fresh out of college. Instead he brought the MLS rookie of
the year … that year being 2005 when he was drafted for the New England Revolution.
exactly is The Crew getting with Parkhurst? Let's take a look.
UEFA Champions League Experience
How many players in the MLS have this in their resume? Don’t think too
manyhere's the answer: Robbie Keane, Thierry Henry, Marco Di Vaio, Obafemi
Martins and Clint Dempsey. That was it. Well at least until Toronto's bombshell on Monday.
Parkhurst will be only the 6th
player in the league who carries that invaluable asset that translates into the
field in three vital aspects on defense:
Positioning, anticipation and mental speed.
The Rhode Island native has played most of his career as a right back
but he did play center back in his first years with New England. That gives Berhalter options to make
adjustments if needed, plus he can swap with another multi-position defensive
player like Josh Williams.
Parkhurst has 23 caps with the US National team since 2007. Even when he
only played two matches with his former club Augsburg. Jürgen Klinsmann had him on the list of possible
options to fill the right back position in the World Cup squad.
The defender is back in the MLS and he
will see lots of action on the field that hopefully give him the chance to go
to Brazil. That extra motivation makes players elevate
He won the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup with the Revs in 2007 and the Super
Liga in 2008. In Denmark he won the Danish Cup back to back (09-10 and 10-11
seasons) with the FC Nordsjaellan. This
is a player who knows what is like to be a champion, what it takes to be one
and how to lead to be one.
With this addition to the roster Berhalter has “almost” completed the
team’s back support. Now it’s time to move forward and get a ... forward.