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Crew's Virtuoso Aims to Pick Up Where He Left Off
Columbus Dispatch, April 19th, 2007 3:20PM

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Major League Soccer is once again making headlines for a recent spate of high-profile additions. One of these, Guillermo Barros Schelotto, is headed to the decidedly low-profile Columbus Crew, which Thursday hosts the New England Revolution in its only live match on ESPN2 this season (7 pm ET). Much has been made of the signing of Schelotto, a former attacking midfielder with South American powerhouse Boca Juniors, but the Argentine will not play against the Revs, as he doesn't arrive in Columbus until early next week.

Instead, the Columbus Dispatch focuses on another South American who's likely to make an impact this evening: Richardo Virtuoso, a 23-year-old Brazilian, who coincidentally made his first start for the Crew against the Revs late last season-a 3-0 win. Virtuoso, in fact, was a major reason the Crew finished off last season with reasonably strong 3-3-1 finish.

Crew coach Sigi Schmid expects big things from the talented youngster, who says he could become one the premier left-wingers in the league. Virtuoso is in the squad Thursday night for the first time this season, after sitting out the first two games with an ankle sprain. He also missed the bulk of last season due to a lingering groin problem. "When I come here [from Brazil in the preseason], I was doing the good, but I get hurt again," Virtuoso told the Dispatch (verbatim, apparently). "I twisted my ankle. Now I come back and work really hard the last month. My first game is going to be very important for me. I had a good time last year, but I know I can do better. I'm not 100 percent, but I will do my best."

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