Finlay enjoying scout team duties

Rookie move to right back provides scouting advantage

Ethan Finlay

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

Primarily a winger, Crew rookie Ethan Finlay has been forced to transition to an outside defense role this season due to roster moves and injuries that have plagued the Black & Gold this season.

In preparation for this weekend's match against D.C. United, Finlay's versatility has helped the Crew prepare for D.C. right back Andy Najar. Najar, the 2010 MLS Rookie of the Year, is also a converted winger.

"[Finlay and Najar] have the same speed, the same mentality," Head Coach Robert Warzycha said Wednesday. "Najar wants to go forward so much. But it's good for Ethan also. He's not only a good defensive player, but sometimes you have to learn to how to be responsible and how to defend well."

The rookie from Creighton is enjoying replicating Najar's tendencies as he transitions to the back line, and hopes to see similar success as a defender in the future.

"[The coaches] have emphasized that they don't see me as a back, but they want me to go forward like a midfielder, like Najar does," Finlay added. "I like it. I always liked defending in college and attacking the ball, finding the ball and stripping it away. I'm taking it in a positive way. It's fun. I've seen the success [Najar] has had [at right back] and hopefully I can have the same success going forward."

Still fighting his way into Warzycha's gameday 18 at the moment, Finlay is taking his role in the scout team to help the Crew prepare for this weekend's pivotal Eastern Conference clash seriously.

"It's super important [to make teammates better in training]," the rookie said. "I think Bobby [Warzycha] has emphasized that we have to do this with all 28 guys that we have right now that are available.

"Every guy has to make a difference every day and has to push the next guy."