"Obviously it's tough [not being in the team]," said Duncan Oughton, 31, the fourth-choice holding midfielder earning what Mitchell calls a "comfortable" $75,000 a year. "But we're winning. And if one of us wins, we all win. That's what it's about at this point." That is, the Crew will share up to $211,000 in postseason bonus money if it wins the MLS Cup, which is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick if you're a developmental players on as little as $12,900 per year.
"It's always nice to have that little extra change in your pocket," said defender Ryan Junge, who made three starts in midseason. "It's a nice atmosphere right now. I like being a part of it. I wouldn't trade this for anything else. I'd rather be on the 28-man roster and not in the 18 than be in the starting 11 of a team that didn't make the playoffs."
"It's not easy," said Crew coach Sigi Schmid. "Those guys that are in that position, they've got to take heart in seeing things like Brad Evans, who hardly played last year and is now in [the] starting lineup. For personal growth, it's a tremendous experience to be part of a team that is successful. You learn how a winner carries himself."
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