Crew 'keeper Hesmer hurt, will miss playoffs
COLUMBUS – It was all fun and games until someone got hurt for the Crew during their 3-1 victory over Philadelphia on Sunday, which wrapped up their regular season.
The Crew got goals by Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Emilio Renteria in the first half – the latter produced a comical celebration when Renteria used his shoe to “phone” his family in Venezuela – and another by Andres Mendoza for a comfortable margin.
WATCH: Full match highlights
William Hesmer was outstanding in pursuit of his 12th shutout of the season with six saves, but he collided with Union defender Danny Califf in the 85th minute, landing awkwardly on his shoulder. He had to leave the game, and Crew spokesman Dave Stephany said Hesmer suffered a fracture of the right shoulder and is out for the duration of the playoffs.
Andy Gruenebaum will take over, beginning with the playoff series vs. Colorado this week.
Although Gruenebaum has not played in an MLS match this season, he started all six Champions League games and every one of the four U.S. Open Cup matches — including the championship loss to Seattle Sounders on Oct. 5.
“It definitely helps to have that experience, to have those games under my belt,” Gruenebaum said. “I missed preseason (because of hip surgery). It was tough coming back so they were very helpful.
“I feel confident if I have to come in and play. The guys are confident in me. Hopefully I can produce.”
It’s been a roller-coaster period for Hesmer. On Oct. 16 he became the second true 'keeper to score in league history when he tied the match at Toronto FC in stoppage time.
On Sunday, Philadelphia had several chances to make it 2-1 in the second half, but Hesmer made a brilliant stop off Justin Mapp while leaning the other way in the 59th, and then he parried away Roger Torres' free kick in the 72nd before getting injured.
“The first thing you think of is you hope he’s okay because we’re in competition together but he’s also a good friend,” Gruenebaum said. “You don’t want to see one of your friends get hurt. You don’t want to win the job like that.”
After Hesmer left the game, midfielder Eddie Gaven went into goal for the second time in his career because the Crew had no more substitutes. He allowed a tally but made two saves.
“I was actually having fun out there and wanted to take one more shot to see if I could save one, but I was definitely glad I didn’t because I probably would have let another one in,” he said.
In a twist, Gaven’s five minutes between the pipes are more than Gruenebaum had in league play this year.
“He gave up a pretty weak goal,” Gruenebaum jokingly said of the Sebastien Le Toux blast in the 87th minute. “He looked like a little fish flopping around out there, but he bounced back. His distribution was excellent, I must say.”
Gaven thought he could have done better on the goal that left the season-high crowd of 19,006 in Crew Stadium squirming at the thought of a Philadelphia comeback.
“He hit a great shot,” Gaven said. “I still feel like I could have tipped it off the crossbar at least. I think I dove after the ball was already in the net. I’m going to have to go back and look at that it on film.”
Gaven said he didn’t volunteer to replace Hesmer but Gruenebaum said he was the best choice because of his past experience — as brief as it was.
“This was a little different (than 2003),” Gaven said. “Last time I was in there 10 seconds. This time it was 10 minutes."
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