Gaven's beard and fitness are always in midseason form. - USA TODAY Sports
Trialist Güvenisik scores only goal of the game as the Crew win first tuneup.
The Crew opened preseason with a 1-0 win against D.C. United behind a second half penalty kick goal from trialist Sercan Güvenisik. The key for the Black and Gold was to gain some game fitness in the weeks before the season opener on March 2nd.
Even with a short roster and several players still yet to join the team, Robert Warzycha opted for his first choice lineup to start the game. Regular starters Andy Gruenebaum, Chad Marshall, Josh Williams, Eddie Gaven, Tony Tchani, and Federico Higuain were joined by Tyson Wahl, Ben Speas, Kevan George, Ryan Finley, and Chad Barson.
It appears that the Crew lined up much as they did in the 2nd half of the season with four in the back, two holding midfielders, a pair wingers, with Higuain drifting behind Finley leading the line.
Both teams switched up the lineups entirely. Matt Lampson, Eric Gehrig, Ethan Finlay, Wil Trapp, Justin Meram, and Aaron Schoenfeld were joined by draftees Reed Matte and Drew Beckie. Trialists Kyle Hyland, Krystian Witkowski, and Güvenisik filled out the rest of the lineup. Trialists Nate Bascom and Blake Brettschneider would also make appearances as would draftee Shawn Sloan.
Very little can be taken from the first friendly of the year, but it's interesting that Speas got the chance with the first team ahead of Meram on the left wing. Meram did create the score after drawing the penalty. The recently arrived Trapp got to play with the second string as George worked with Tchani on the first team. Danny O'Rourke appeared to be held out.
While the depth chart is up for debate, it's clear that the team has more work to do in filling out the roster. Central midfield is very inexperienced. All four players are under 23 years old, with Tchani having the most experience of the group. Left back depth is also lacking as Hyland just came out of IUPUI and is backing up the journeyman Wahl.
The team has another tuneup on Wednesday when they face off against the Chicago Fire at 11am. It will be another chance to build fitness and see if the collection of draftees and trialists can add something to the team.