Columbus Crew SC announced four players have gone on loan to start the MLS season before Saturday’s game. Three players have gone Pittsburgh and another went to Sweden. The moves are on a game-by-game basis and Crew SC reserves the right of recall. The loans also bring Columbus to roster compliance.
Three players, Marshall Hollingsworth, Cristian Martinez and Ben Swanson have been loaned to Crew SC’s USL affiliate Pittsburgh Riverhounds. Hollingsworth and Swanson have already joined Pittsburgh during the preseason. Martinez is on international duty with the Panamanian U-20 team.
Gregg Berhalter was up front that Rodrigo Saravia needed a different challenge and he was able to arrange one as Saravia has been loaned to IK Frej of Sweden’s Second Division. While he can be recalled, Saravia will have a good chance to gain meaningful minutes with a long-term loan.
Columbus needed to make loan moves for roster compliance purposes too. With a surplus of international players and limited open spots, Crew SC had to be inventive. Saravia and Martinez will not count against the eight international slots the team has while they are on loan.
The loan of Martinez makes sense, since he hasn’t rejoined the team from international duty. Columbus may be able to bring Martinez back if they get another international slot via trade or swap him with another international, such as rookie Lalas Abubakar depending on team needs.
Long term, the roster of loanees may shift. Berhalter stated earlier that Abuchi Obinwa is likely to be loaned when he is fully fit. Obinwa is working his way back to fitness from a thigh strain and played in Sunday’s scrimmage against Akron.