Already missing at least 10 players that helped them advance to the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals, the Columbus Crew may have been dealt another blow just days before their first of two matches against Real Salt Lake. During a preseason game with the Houston Dynamo on Thursday, both Shaun Francis and Dilly Duka had to leave early with apparent injuries.
Francis was helped off the field after a collision in the fifth minute, while Duka came out holding his abdomen about halfway through the second 40-minute period. Crew officials made no comment regarding the severity of either injury, but coach Robert Warzycha did not sound optimistic in comments he made to MLSsoccer.com following the match.
"With all the injuries we’re facing in the preseason, it’s difficult to predict who’s going to be out there on Tuesday," Warzycha said after the 4-2 loss. "We saw it today. Your lineup can be destroyed in a minute."
Both players were expected to start on Tuesday for the Crew, who have undergone a massive transformation this off-season. Whether losing players in the various allocation drafts, through trades or even outright releases, the Crew have parted ways with 10 of their veterans from last year. Among them were their top two goal scorers (Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Steven Lenhart), their two starting central midfielders (Adam Moffat and Brian Carroll) and the two players who started the most games at fullback (Frankie Hejduk and Gino Padula).