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Loanee Lookout: Week 1

How did Crew SC’s loaned players perform as the Riverhounds opened the season?

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-Tampa Bay Rowdies at Columbus Crew SC Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Crew SC affiliate Pittsburgh Riverhounds opened the United Soccer League season at home on Saturday night with a 3-3 draw against defending league champion New York Red Bulls II.

The Riverhounds featured three Crew SC players in Homegrown midfielder Ben Swanson, second-year midfielder/defender Marshall Hollingsworth, defensive midfielder Abuchi Obinwa and winger Cristian Martinez who are all on loan on a game-by-game basis.

Hollingsworth started at the right midfield position for the home opener at Highmark Stadium. This is his second stint with the Riverhounds, earning 26 appearances last season. Primarily, Hollingsworth played left back last year, but to start 2017 the Pittsburgh staff gave him an attacking responsibility. It proved to be a smart decision as he earned an assist on the night on a 39th minute pass to midfielder Kevin Kerr.

Swanson and Obinwa were both available as substitutes as the only other two Black & Gold players to make the game day roster with Swanson coming off the bench for Hollingsworth in the 62nd minute.

Below is a brief report on each player’s contributions to the match.

Marshall Hollingsworth

He showed strong defensive work rate and a willingness to be physical. Throughout his time in the match, he was a nuisance to the Red Bulls, running down opposition players and breaking up their attacking runs.

Though he showed moments of smart possession play on offense, it looked like he was struggling to really get involved in the Riverhound's attack. He did manage, however, to eventually force his way into a move forward late in the first half. He received a ball near the top of the 18-yard box, quickly spun, and left it for a teammate. It wasn't the most beautiful buildup, but he registered the assist and showed quick awareness of where his teammate was to finish the attacking run.

Hollingsworth left the game midway through the second half due to a cramp. Nothing to be too concerned over.

It was a commendable night for him. He demonstrated a fierce desire to be involved in the match.

Ben Swanson

Swanson came on for the injured Hollingsworth.

During his time on the pitch, he displayed moments of pinpoint dribbling skills and a few attempted (though thwarted) through balls. His eyes look forward when he gets on the ball. His evasive movement, dribbling, ball control, and vision showed he's on his way to becoming a sound central attacking midfielder.

The Riverhounds next match is next Saturday, April 1 against FC Cincinnati. We will bring you updates on Crew SC’s affiliate and the progress of the loanees throughout the season.