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Columbus Crew lose Eddie Gaven for rest of the season

Columbus Crew v Montreal Impact - Disney Pro Soccer Classic

ORLANDO, FL - FEBRUARY 23: Forward Eddie Gaven #12 of the Columbus Crew runs upfield against the Montreal Impact in the final round of the Disney Pro Soccer Classic on February 23, 2013 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

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The Columbus Crew have been dealt a serious blow as they look to progress in the U.S. Open Cup and challenge for a spot in the top half of the Major League Soccer Eastern Conference standings.

Veteran midfielder Eddie Gaven tore the ACL in his left knee in the team’s 2-1 victory in the Cup against the Dayton Dutch Lions.

It was pretty evident, given the pain Gaven was in after the challenge in the penalty area, that something serious had occurred. He was stretchered off and was seen on crutches after the game.

According to the report in the Columbus Dispatch, no other damage to the knee was revealed in Thursday’s MRI, and he is expected to make a full recovery in time for next season.

Gaven leads MLS this season with 38 fouls suffered, and had scored his first goal of the season earlier in the match, along with assisting the winning goal. He’s made 218 total appearances for the Crew since 2006 and 293 appearances overall in his 10-year MLS career between the Crew and Red Bulls despite just being 26 years old.

No word has been given on a replacement, but coach Robert Warzycha said “You can’t replace him. Eddie Gaven does so many things. If you ask anybody on this club, they’re going to tell you that there’s only one Eddie Gaven.”

It’s possible the Crew will now rely more heavily on Ben Speas, Ethan Finlay, or even Bernardo Anor to pick up added minutes in Gaven’s absence.