Anor returns to the fold
It wasn’t easy for Crew midfielder Bernardo Anor to sit on the sidelines and watch his team earn a hard-fought draw against the New York Red Bulls last Saturday.
Fortunately, the Venezuelan has a chance to immediately make an impact against a Sporting Kansas City side that, as the defending MLS Cup champion, poses a measuring-stick challenge for the Crew. Anor is available for selection on Sunday after missing out against New York due to a red card suspension, and the Crew attacker is ready to contribute if called upon.
“Obviously, it’s tough to sit out, to not be a part of a game that was that important for us,” said Anor. “But I think that the guys did pretty well. I’m happy for the team. Now I’m back, and hopefully I contribute in this game coming-up. It’s something that you just leave in the past and move on.”
Both Columbus and Kansas City have enjoyed strong possession in the season’s early going. In fact, the two sides are far and away the MLS leaders in this category, with Columbus’ 57.4% rate of possession leading MLS, and Sporting’s 57.1% mark ranking just behind the Black & Gold.
Possession is often catalyzed by a strong midfield, and Anor expects that controlling the middle of the field against a Sporting side that deploys the likes of Graham Zusi and Benny Feilhaber can go a long way toward victory.
“It’s going to be a great opponent in the midfield … we have to be smart with the ball, and when they have the ball, we need to position ourselves well defensively.”
Although Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter said that Anor’s return adds another “quality player” to his selection, there is no guarantee that the former University of South Florida player will immediately regain his starting spot. Still, Berhalter praised his midfielder’s quality.
“[Anor] is a solid performer. He’s been performing for us all year. He gets in good positions between the lines, he’s physical, he has good strength and is good in the air. He has a lot of positive qualities.”
Regardless if he gets the starting nod or not, Anor is confident in his team’s ability to get the job done no matter who takes to the pitch.
“Everybody that steps into that position can do it. I think everybody is ready for what [Sporting] Kansas City is going to present to us. We all have to be focused, no matter who is on the field. It’s going to be very important that everybody is on the same page.”