Columbus Crew boss on Abubakar's half-time substitution in MLS fixture

Lalas Abubakar MLS Combine 01082017
Jayne Kamin-Oncea
Gregg Berhalter talks about his decision regarding the Ghanaian in Saturday's league encounter

Columbus Crew sporting director and head coach Gregg Berhalter has shed light on his unusual withdrawal of Lalas Abubakar in Saturday's Major League Soccer win over DC. 

The Ghanaian, who received a booking early in the third minute, was hauled off after half-time as the Black and Gold secured a 3-1 home triumph at MAPFRE Stadium.

Crew had gone 3-1 up before recess, thanks to goals from Milton Valenzuela, Ricardo Clark and Pedro Santos. 

"We were concerned that the yellow [card] would turn to a yellow-red in that second half so we pulled him.

"You’d rather not give up a goal than give one up. I think it’s focus, I think it’s us having the ball. 

"When you look at possession, we still maintained an advantage in possession in the second half. 

"We were still able to create enough chances in the second half. 

"Overall, I think it’s good. When you’re up 3-1, at minimum you want to end 3-1 or score more goals and we did that."

Abubakar's compatriots Harrison Afful and Jonathan Mensah, however, lasted for the entire duration of the game, while Mohammed Abu was a 71st minute substitute. 

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Abubakar has made four appearances, all starts, so far for Crew this season.

The 23-year-old has been in impressive form for the Major League Soccer side since breaking into Gregg Berhalter's set-up last campaign, where he made 10 appearances involving seven starts and one goal.