The Crew announced today that the team signed defensive midfielder Matias Sanchez to a contract. The 25 year old is a five year veteran with Argentine side Estudiantes and played for the Argentina side that won the U-20 World Cup.
Rumors that the Crew were looking to sign Sanchez have swirled for a couple weeks. Brian Bliss said that he was due to be on trial so that the team could see him in action. Apparently he impressed the staff that they didn't need to see him in game action as originally planned.
The Crew has been thin in central midfield. Milovan Mirosevic returned to Chile and the team parted ways with Chris Birchall. Second year player Kevan George has been the starter at defensive midfield throughout preseason with Danny O'Rourke recovering from minor injuries. Sanchez will instantly compete for a starting spot.
The 5'8" Sanchez is a technical holding player rather than a destroyer in midfield. He gives the Crew a different style of player in front of the defense. Unlike O'Rourke or Birchall, he's not known for crunching tackles, but rather astute positioning and cleaning up danger. He's reminiscent of Brian Carroll.
The Sanchez signing gives the Crew much more lineup flexibility. New signing Agustin Viana can now line up exclusively at left back. Viana had been seen as a possible defensive midfielder in addition to playing at left back.
After a very quiet off season, Sanchez is the fourth addition in the last two weeks. The team has signed defenders Glauber and Viana. They also added speedster forward Dominic Oduro. The Crew is suddenly a lot deeper with a few less holes in the lineup.