Columbus Crew SC announced today that rookie center-back Lalas Abubakar would go on loan to club affiliate Pittsburgh Riverhounds on a game-by-game basis. Crew SC also have the right to recall the player at any point during the Major League Soccer season.
This is the same move the Black & Gold made earlier this year, sending Ben Swanson, Marshall Hollingsworth, Abuchi Obinwa and Cristian Martinez to Pittsburgh. While Swanson, Hollingsworth and Obinwa have remained with the Riverhounds, Martinez has frequently been training with his parent club in Columbus.
Crew SC selected Abubakar with the fifth-overall pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft. The defender played three seasons at Dayton, making 61 appearances scoring four goals and registering six assists. He was also part of the Michigan Bucks side that won the United Soccer League’s Premier Development League Championship and was named USL PDL Defender of the Year.
With Jonathan Mensah and Nicolai Naess as the starting center backs, along with the recent play of rookie Homegrown product Alex Crognale and the veteran presence of Josh Williams, this move is one that should allow Abubakar to get playing time he may not have seen in Columbus.
It also frees up an international slot while Abubakar is away, potentially opening the door for Martinez to play his first first-team action of the season.
Pittsburgh takes on the Charleston Battery on Saturday, April 8. Our Josh Enke will cover the match and give his weekly report on the Black & Gold players with the Riverhounds.