Eduardo Sosa’s career with Columbus Crew SC didn’t start exactly how the 21-year-old midfielder had planned. Signed by the club in January, the Venezuelan showed a sampling of what he can do during preseason, but he’s yet to get playing time since Major League Soccer’s regular season started.
For the most part, Sosa’s absence can be explained by a right ankle injured he picked up in March during a scrimmage with FC Cincinnati that sidelined him for five weeks. Fully recovered, the playmaker returned to training a while ago and he feels ready to finally play for Crew SC now.
“I’m ready now,” Sosa assured. “It was tough because I had just joined the club and wanted to practice and show what I could do. Now I’m working to make up for the time I’ve missed.
“I’ve been training normally for three weeks now and I’m prepared to be in the game day roster. I managed to recover earlier than expected and it’s great to be training with the guys again. There’s still a little pain, but I feel very well, very close to 100 percent.”
Sosa’s first inclusion on Crew SC’s game day roster could happen as soon as this weekend, when the Black & Gold travel west to face the Seattle Sounders on the road on Saturday.
Head coach Gregg Berhalter didn’t confirm Sosa will be part of the team’s squad against the Sounders, but he admitted that’s an option. After seeing how important it can be to have a player who can come off the bench and offensively impact the game, as Mike Grella did last week, Berhalter could certainly turn to the Venezuelan’s skills.
“We’ll see how he looks, but I think he’s getting back to be in contention,” the coach said. “He should bring unpredictability, the final pass and taking people off the dribble, which he’s very good at, good shot. He can bring some stuff.”
The skills described by Berhalter were shown in preseason, when Sosa recorded an assist in Hawaii, and could have helped Crew SC over the last weeks, when the team struggled with three losses and one tie and scored only three goals in four matches.
For the Venezuelan, it was tough to be sidelined in a moment when the team most needed help.
“I felt impotent, as perhaps I could’ve been an option for the coach if he needed me,” he said. “I wish I were available, but the injury didn’t allow me to. But the team managed to win last match and we’re confident that there will be other good results coming soon.”
Once Sosa completes the first step of his return, which would be being part of the game squad, the young midfielder will try to continue his journey to get a spot on Crew SC’s starting lineup.
The task at hand doesn’t seem promising at a first glance, though, as the Venezuelan, who describes himself as a true No. 10, would compete for a place in the team with Federico Higuain, one of Crew SC’s most important players.
“It’s obviously tough competing for a spot with Pipa, but it is what it is,” Sosa commented. “I’ll wait for my opportunity and try to take advantage of it whenever it comes. I’ll keep working hard, doing whatever the coach asks me too and giving everything I have in every minute I have on the field.”
If Sosa is still giving his first steps with Crew SC on the field, outside it he seems fully integrated with the club and the city. The Venezuelan is still learning English, but he appreciated how his teammates welcomed him despite of the language barrier.
“I feel very comfortable with the team and my teammates have been great, like a great family,” he commented. “It’s my first time in a different country and from an adjustment standpoint, it has been even better than I expected. The winter was tough, but it's over now”
Embracing the ❄️ with your BFF pic.twitter.com/6kc2kZeDuj— Columbus Crew SC (@ColumbusCrewSC) April 17, 2018
Sosa has, indeed, already made new friends within the roster. The midfielder is particularly close to Cristian Martínez and Artur, who both have similar ages and can also speak Spanish. Last weekend, the trio visited the Columbus Zoo.
“I spend a lot of time with them,” he said. “We try to explore the city whenever we have a chance or simply get together to watch movies.”