Columbus Crew SC and fullback Hernan Grana have parted ways after a report that he was seen driving away from practice on Monday rather than participating with the team.
This news comes just two days after Grana was left off the game day 18-man roster for a 3-2 win over Seattle Sounders, making way for Hector Jimenez to start and play a full 90 minutes at right back. After the match, Columbus head coach Gregg Berhalter called it a coach's decision.
Now the Columbus Dispatch's Adam Jardy is tweeting that the Grana did not practice with the team on Monday.
Waiting for #crewsc training to open. It's still going, but Hernan Grana just left in his car.— Adam Jardy (@AdamJardy) May 12, 2015
Jardy followed up that tweet with this one:
Ultimately Columbus terminated his contract:
Gregg Berhalter said Hernan Grana's contract was terminated this morning and he is returning to Argentina. #crewsc— Adam Jardy (@AdamJardy) May 12, 2015
Prior to Saturday, the Argentinian had started seven of nine contests and gone a full 90 minutes five times. There had been no question he was a critical piece of the Crew SC puzzle... at least through the first two months of the season.
Berhalter was tight-lipped about the move Saturday night, and has not previously indicated that there was any unrest with the player.
"It was a choice by me," Berhalter said after the match. "It was a coach's decision and I think different guys get chances at different times and it was time for Hector to perform and I think he did a good job."
Jimenez ended up contributing an assist on the Black & Gold's final goal of the night.
Grana had endeared himself to Columbus fans with his high motor and fearless approach both offensively and defensively — always intent on dribbling out of trouble rather than getting the ball out of the back — flying up and down the right touchline and contributing heavily to the attack.
This is the second time in two seasons a contract was terminated due to reported homesickness. Alvaro Ray headed back to Spain after his brief tenure with Columbus. It's apparent that Berhalter prefers to move a player rather than keeping an unhappy player around.
With the Primary Window closing today, Crew SC won't have a lot of time to fill the hole left by Grana's departure barring a free transfer. The team will likely use Jimenez, Chad Barson, and Chris Klute as options in that spot.