With less than two months until the 2016 MLS Season gets under way, the Columbus Crew SC are trying to make just the right moves to improve from being the MLS Cup runners-up. After announcing on Monday that midfielder Ethan Finlay signed a contract extension, it was announced two days later that Crew SC forward Jack McInerny had been acquired by the Portland Timbers. Then, on Thursday, Columbus made four selections in the MLS SuperDraft, including three second round picks and one first round.
This all comes as talk of Radamel Falcao and the Columbus Crew SC from last week has begun to quiet down. The latest news on Falcao, according to The Guardian, is that Monaco wanted to bring him back for the second half of their season, cutting his loan to Chelsea short. However, Radamel’s most recent injury prevents him from playing with Monaco right away, and at this point, his loan with Chelsea won’t be cut short. When he’s healthy, Falcao struggles to get playing time in the Premier League, and hasn’t been very impressive when he does get to play. That may be less of a problem if he played for the MLS in the United States.
One guy that will definitely be wearing the black and gold in 2016 is Ethan Finlay. Finlay has spent his entire MLS career with the Crew SC since being drafted by Columbus in 2012. He had remarkable seasons in 2014 and 2015, being named an All-Star and helping take his team to the MLS Cup Finals this year. As Major League Soccer noted, Finlay and the Crew SC have signed a contract extension, although the details have not been disclosed. Over the last two MLS regular seasons, Finlay has scored 23 goals and made 20 assists.
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While Jack McInerney will be in Portland for the MLS 2016 season opener against Columbus, he won’t be on the visiting team. The forward was acquired by the Portland Timbers in exchange for targeted and general allocation money. McInerney has been shuffled around the league a lot over the last two seasons. Jack began the 2014 season with the Philadelphia Union before being traded to the Montreal Impact mid-season. He remained in Montreal until he was traded the following year, again mid-season, this time to Columbus.
Columbus was busy on Thursday as well, making four selections in the first two rounds of the 2016 MLS SuperDraft. Being runners-up to Portland, they received the second-to-last pick of the first round. They also received the first pick of the second round, as well as No. 31 and No. 41 overall picks.
In the first round (19th overall), as the Crew SC recounted on their official website, Columbus chose Rodrigo Saravia. Born in Guatemala City, Guatemala, Saravia played four seasons as a midfielder at Florida Gulf Coast University. He will be 23 next month.
With the first pick in the second round (21st overall), the Crew SC selected Chase Minter. Minter was born in Heath, Texas, and played for Cal Poly as both a midfielder and a forward. He started 67 times and made a total of 77 appearances during his four years at Cal Poly.
Columbus took Kyle Parker in another second round pick (31st overall) they acquired from a previous trade. Parker played forward for UNC-Charlotte. He is also a hometown boy, having been born and raised in Columbus.
With the final pick of the day (41st overall) from the third pick acquired by trade, Columbus picked Marshall Hollingsworth, a forward out of Wheaton College. He played in 92 games over his four year career at Wheaton.
Columbus Crew SC continue to make moves to prepare for 2016. Their season begins on March 6 as they travel to the Pacific Northwest to play the Portland Timbers.
[Image via Twitter]