clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Versatile Mohammed Saeid Provided Time for a Full Wil Trapp Recovery

New, 2 comments

Crew SC now has three talented and healthy center midfielders with only two spots to fill.

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

In the locker room following Saturday's 2-1 Columbus Crew SC win, several reporters gathered around Wil Trapp. The 22-year old midfielder made his long-awaited return to Major League Soccer play that night after missing the previous 13 games, spanning nearly three months, with concussion symptoms.

The man who didn't get the attention was Mohammed Saeid, who filled in for Trapp alongside Tony Tchani over that time and was leaving the stadium after another solid performance against a tough New York Red Bulls midfield.

"Unbelievable tonight," Trapp said of the starting midfield duo.

"It's tough sledding against a team like that because they put so many numbers forward, they press so hard, especially in the midfield, and I think those two handles it exceptionally well."

As Saeid walked by the media scrum, he stopped to say goodbye and congratulations to his teammate who finally made it back on the field, a sign of pure class considering the two will fight for a spot in a now slightly more crowded central midfield.

"At the end of the day it's football, it's a sport," Saeid said when asked about that moment. "We're friends, we're teammates. I don't wish any bad for him and I'm sure he's the same. We just want the team to win and that's both of our interests."

The 24-year old Swedish player got his opportunity to start majority of his 16 games due to Trapp's injury, playing the holding midfield spot for Crew SC. In his own mind, though, Saeid is a more attacking player.

"I'm more comfortable in the offensive role," Saeid told Massive Report this week. "That's like No. 8 if you'd call it, that's a little bit more offensive."

"When I was younger, I played in the No. 10 role when I was at West Brom. That's how I grew up. I didn't pass the ball much, just for myself, but I came to Sweden and I started learning the passing part."

Black & Gold fans saw this side of Saeid's game early in the season when filled in for the suspended Tchani against Toronto FC. In that match, he kept Sebastian Giovinco - who has eight goals and six assists since that match - in check by forcing him back defensively.

Head coach Gregg Berhalter and his staff saw this ability in Saeid while scouting him and were intrigued by what he could bring. He's an offensive-minded player, but they saw the possibilities defensively as well.

"He's very flexible and he has a lot of good qualities, particularly going forward. He has a good shot," Berhalter said of Saeid.

"We thought he could play both positions. The No. 6 takes a little longer to learn in our system, so the first fit was as a No. 8, but we knew in the back of our heads that he's a guy that could play No. 6 as well."

That versatility made it easier for Crew SC to take its time with Trapp. Saeid wasn't a natural fit for the more defensive No. 6 role, which requires the midfielder to become a center back at times in Berhalter's system, but he learned on the fly and excelled.

"Mostly I watched their games," Saeid said on how he learned the position. "How Wil was positioned and what he would do in certain situations. That's how I adapted. Playing too helped. Playing games helps you realize, when you make mistakes you'll know.

"A bit of help from Wil too. I spoke to him a couple of times and he's been a good help."

Saeid' eagerness to learn and Trapp's willingness to help made what could have been a devastating injury into a manageable one. While he was out longer than he would have liked, Trapp was able to make a full recovery, preparing him for the second half of the season.

Crew SC now has three experienced players competing for two spots in the midfield, an issue that creates depth and competition, which all three players welcome.

"[Mo] and Tony, it makes it tough for me to get back, so that's good," Trapp said. "It only makes you better. Challenges are good, and if you want to get better, you have to accept those challenges and take one on the chin sometimes."

Berhalter has said Trapp will have to work his way back due to how well Saeid and Tchani played, but it's only a matter of time before the club's vice captain is on the pitch regularly.

When he came to Columbus, Saeid wanted to push the two center midfielders ahead of him for minutes. The Trapp injury opened the door and the Swede took advantage. With all three now available for selection, Saeid's versatility and improvement over the last few months will help to continue to get him minutes.

That's all he asks for.

"I'm just kid that love playing football and I haven't change," he said.

"Really, I don't really mind where I play as long as I'm playing. As long as it's not center back or goalkeeper."