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Tough lineup choices for Crew ... and no room for mistakes

Federico Higuaín

When you start counting guys playing well for the Columbus Crew right now, you will probably need that second set of fingers. And oddly, that’s created a bit of a conundrum.

Manager Robert Warzycha has some difficult lineup choices ahead of tonight’s match against Toronto. That’s because the schedule is sardine packed at the moment, with matches coming fast and furious on either side of this evening’s encounter at Crew Stadium.

By this weekend, Warzycha’s men will be shin guard deep into their fourth match in 11 days.

But make no mistake, packed slate or no, if the Crew is going to be a player in the playoff race down the stretch, there will never be a more golden opportunity than the next four days. The team in yellow is home against the bottom pair in the East.

So, lineup juggling would seem natural. On the other hand …

“That would be the smartest thing to do,” Warzycha told on Tuesday, referring to a switch here and there. “The other thing, though, is the guys had a good game [Sunday against Houston], so they don’t want to be disappointed sitting on the bench.”

Who is playing well? Start here, with Massive Reports’ game grades from Sunday.

Goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum wasn’t at his best in the 2-2 draw in Texas. But he’s been money this year, and then some. So we can write that off as glitch in the Matrix.

Sebastian Miranda has gotten past some recent wobbles at right back. Chad Marshall is doing his usual steady work in the middle.

Midfielder Cole Grossman, not a name we hear much about, was a force in midfield Sunday. So was Eddie Gaven, although no surprise there. Dilly Duka continues to be a rising young gun with an ever growing bag of attacking tricks.

Jairo Arrieta continues to look like one of the top, under-the-radar midseason MLS additions. And as we talked about yesterday, Federico Higuaín (pictured) could be the best forward-midfielder at Crew Stadium since Guillermo Barros Schelotto, the playmaker by which all playmakers will be judged for years to come in Ohio.

East standings graphic