The Crew made a late move to bolster their roster today when the team confirmed reports from SI.com that they will be signing Austrian defender Emanuel Pogatetz who last played for FC Nürnberg on a free transfer. He will likely play center back in replacement for the transferred Giancarlo González.
Pogatetz has a wealth of experience with teams throughout Europe, including Hannover 96, VfL Wolfsburg , and West Ham United. He's most likely remembered for his six year stint with the English side Middlesbrough from 2005 to 2010.
Pogatetz is a physical defender who will tower above the rest of the Crew back line at 6'3". He's earned the nickname Mad Dog due to his ferocious play. Pogatetz broke a Yaroslav Kharitonskiy's leg while playing for Spartak Moscow in 2005. He was ultimately suspended eight weeks for the tackle. He also injured Manchester United's Rodrigo Possebon in 2008 while playing for Middlesbrough. Possebon had to be carried off on a stretcher and spent the night in the hospital.
Recently, Pogatetz has tempered his aggressive play. He has not earned a straight red card since his Possebon and his number of yellow cards has dropped sharply during his stints in the Bundesliga and the English Premier League.
Pogatetz has also made 61 appearances for the Austrian National Team, playing all three games in the 2008 EURO tournament and was named captain of the team a year later. He's appeared as recently as June for the national team, but was left out of the last squad called in for this month's 2016 EURO qualifiers.
According to Brian Straus of SI.com, Pogatetz will available on Sept. 20 to face New England Revolution. Pogatetz announced on his blog that he will be a paid a top-5 salary for MLS defenders. That would put his in the range above Gonzalez's $250k guaranteed salary number or Michael Parkhurst's 300k salary.
The team has a week until the league freezes it's rosters for the playoffs and there is little sign the Crew will be signing any more offensive players. Berhalter confirmed that there is mutual interest in bringing Kei Kamara back to Columbus, but that deal wouldn't start until next season.