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Columbus Displays Impressive Depth With Youngsters

On Saturday, the Columbus Crew gave the rest of MLS a scary preview of the club's future. In an away win against the New England Revolution, the Crew started eight players who are 25 or younger while veteran players such as Frankie Hejduk and Alejandro Moreno were away on national team duty. As substitutes, the Crew brought on 23-year-old Adam Moffat and Jason Garey (25). "Don't forget Robbie Rogers (22), Chad Marshall (25)," Coach Robert Warzycha reminded the press of two other youngsters who missed the game, Rogers because of national team duty and Marshall because of an MCL sprain.

Despite losing Emmanuel Ekpo to a red card against the Revolution, a young Crew team showed poise to hold on for a 1-0 win. "That is something we can build around. The guys are young. That's the future of the Columbus Crew," Warzycha said. "We have a good group of guys. We have to add two or three to the mix and we're going to be very, very good."

The Crew (13-5-10, 49 points) is in position to win a second consecutive Supporters' Shield despite constant lineup shuffling down the stretch. "Everybody knows the system. It's going to be tough the next few games because I don't know who I'm going to put on the field," Warzycha said. The Crew is aiming for the sort of consistent success that so often eludes teams from year to year in MLS. For example, none of the previous four clubs to win the Supporters' Shield (regular-season title) and MLS Cup in the same season won either the next year. "We have to try to win the Supporters' Shield. To win it two years in row is not very easy," defender Gino Padula, one of the team's veterans, said. This weekend, a Crew victory and a San Jose win or tie against Chivas USA would give the Crew another Supporters' Shield for having the most points in the league.

Read the whole story at MLSnet.com »

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