Kevin Molino had played in every game in the 2023 season for the Columbus Crew prior to Saturday’s 2-1 loss at the New York Red Bulls. Molino was not on the bench as an available substitute at Red Bull Arena for the first time this year and, as it turns out, this was because of an unfortunate reason.
The Crew announced on Tuesday afternoon that Molino underwent a meniscectomy of his knee on March 17. He is expected to be sidelined for the next six to eight weeks while he recovers from the surgery.
While he played more of an inverted winger role under previous head coach Caleb Porter, current manager Wilfried Nancy has used Molino as one of his two attacking midfielders when coming off the bench so far this season.
Prior to his time with the Crew, the 32 year old had spells with Minnesota United from 2017 to 2020, in which he scored 21 goals and provided 18 assists in 67 appearances, and Orlando City SC from 2015 to 2016, in which he scored 11 goals and provided 9 assists in 37 appearances.
Unfortunately for Molino, injuries are nothing new. The midfielder tore his ACL in 2015 while playing for Orlando and then again in 2018 with Minnesota. During his first season with the Black & Gold, Molino suffered the same injury, after which he spent about 10 months sidelined.
Molino joined Columbus as a marquee free agent in 2021, coming off a remarkable postseason with United and was expected to be a key part of the Crew’s MLS Cup title defense that year. Since his move to the Black & Gold, the Trinidad and Tobago international has made 25 appearances for Columbus, with 11 starts, and has logged two goals and two assists in 1,027 minutes of play. Molino made substitute appearances in the Crew’s opening three matches of the 2023 season, seeing the field for 14 minutes.
Also on the Black & Gold’s injury list is defender Josh Williams, who has been out with an ankle injury, and midfielder Christian Ramirez, who has yet to make his debut for Columbus since signing with the team this winter from Aberdeen F.C. in the Scottish Premier League as he recovers from a foot injury. Designated Player Cuch Hernandez also missed last week’s game in New York with a knee injury, although that is not expected to be serious.
Defender Milos Degenek, goalkeeper Eloy Room and midfielder Lucas Zelarayan will not be available for selection for Saturday’s match against Atlanta United after earning call-ups to represent their respective national teams during the FIFA international window. With both Zelarayan and Molino out, Nancy is likely to have to get creative with his attacking midfield position.
SOURCE: Massive Report