The Crew finalized their long awaited "international signing" today. The team announced that Brazilian central defender Gláuber agreed to a deal and is expected to anchor the back line with Chad Marshall.
The Crew brass announced that it was a priority to shore up a defense that became more porous as the season went on. The team parted with Julius James and was unable to re-sign Carlos Mendes, leaving the team with Chad Marshall, Josh Williams, Eric Gehrig, and newly signed homegrown player Chad Barson as the only central defenders on the roster.
Gláuber has been well traveled during his career. He arrives from the Romanian first division team Rapid Bucharest and has played for FC Nürnberg, Manchester City, Palmeiras, and Atlético Mineiro.
The arrival of Gláuber changes the complexion of the defense. The Crew now have two tall defenders in the middle with the 6'4" Marshall paired with the 6'3" Gláuber. They should be able to deal with any aerial threat, but neither have great pace. The team will likely change their defensive system slightly to compensate, perhaps sitting farther back.
The addition of another starting caliber central defender prompts more changes. Josh Williams now appears to be the technical staff's choice at right back. Williams played one game at right back in 2012, but otherwise hasn't had much game experience there. His play at left back was solid, but paled in comparison to his performances at center back.
The left back spot currently falls to Tyson Wahl by default, but the team keeps repeating that they are looking for competition to push him at that spot. Wahl's defensive reputation in the league is mediocre at best as he's known more for pushing forward into the attack. He does have the required left foot, but the team really need to find a better option to truly solidify the defense.
Glauber's addition also clears up Danny O'Rourke's role. He's likely to be the first choice at defensive midfield as camp opens. Depth at central midfield is poor with only Tony Tchani and O'Rourke as veteran options. Homegrown rookie Wil Trapp and second year vet Kevan George are the only other players who are traditional midfielders.
Brian Bliss says further help is on the way to the Dispatch and that the rumored move for Matias Sanchez is just one of the options the Crew is pursuing.
The addition of Glauber is a surprise as it's one of the spots where the team is deepest, but apparently the technical staff thought the player was too good to pass up. It does settle some of the positional battles as camp opens and allows the team to focus on one less hole.