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Massive Acquisition: Meet the Crew’s newest midfielder, David Guzman

Caleb Porter brings a familiar face to his new club.

MLS: Columbus Crew at Portland Timbers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

In a move that was widely reported last week, the Crew has officially obtained central midfielder, David Guzman, from the Portland Timbers. In exchange for the Costa Rican National Team player, the Crew sent an international roster spot to Portland. The club officially announced the deal on Monday morning.

The 29-year-old defensive midfielder was originally acquired by the Timbers when Crew head coach Caleb Porter was manning the Portland sidelines. Porter first became enamored with Guzman’s play during the 2016 CONCACAF Champions League tournament, when Portland battled Guzman and Deportivo Saprissa, a mere two months later, Porter had the player he coveted.

Guzman is a true defensive midfielder. To use soccer speak, Guzman is a classic No. 6. This means he is the player who performs the dirty work. He gains possession with tackles, he maintains possession by linking the defense with the attack and he fouls in tactical moments to halt an opposing offense. Additionally, Guzman is a technically sound player with the type of soccer IQ Porter demands from the role.

Where Does He Fit?

Given the current state of the Crew’s holding midfielders, Artur and Wil Trapp, making a move for Guzman makes total sense. Artur has been lackluster this season, and Trapp may be on his way out of Columbus this summer. Perhaps more integral is that the acquisition brings familiarity to Porter. He knows what Guzman brings to the table, and it is the first significant transaction for Columbus under Porter, as he seeks to stamp his own identity on the club.

Schematically, Trapp and Artur are quality players in their own right, but simply do not possess the hard-nosed bite of Guzman. Prior to his coaching days, Porter himself was a defensive midfielder, so naturally he has a proclivity for likeminded players. Porter is adamant that to win in soccer, you have to be potent through the spine of your team (goalkeeper, center backs, central midfielders, striker), but specifically when it pertains to the central midfield. Games are won and lost by who wins the central battle. Guzman infuses a complimentary mix of brains and brawn to that facet of the field.

This move is a low-cost/high-reward play by Porter and Crew general manager Tim Bezbatchanko. Relinquishing just an international roster spot for a player that Porter covets is a win for the Black & Gold. How well and how quickly Guzman meshes with his new teammates will be critical to fortifying the central midfield. Only time will tell how impactful this transaction will be for Columbus

David Guzman 101

Guzman is a Costa Rican international, who has earned 54 caps for his country, including starting three matches in the 2018 World Cup. He joined the famed Saprissa youth academy as a nine-year-old and ascended to the senior club by age 19. He started 160+ games for the famed Costa Rican club.

MLS Statistics:
Games Played – 50
Games Started – 45
Goals – 4
Assists – 8
Fouls Committed – 98
Yellow Cards – 18