Eddie Gaven out, which key MLS players are also missing?

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The Columbus Crew were rocked by the news that their star midfielder, Eddie Gaven, is out for the season after tearing his ACL in Open Cup action against the Dayton Dutch Lions on Wednesday.

Gaven is the heart and soul of Columbus’ midfield and news of injuries has been met with despair and devastation from fans of the Crew, and fans around the league.

The 26-year-old is a league veteran already.

Gaven is in his tenth MLS season and was once again proving critical to Columbus’ aim of winning silverware, or at least making the playoffs.

Now that hangs in the balance. As the bearded maestro is done for the 2013 season.

But with Gaven so important to the Crew’s success, have injuries to other key MLS players this season been as instrumental to their teams success? Let’s take a quick gander.

Arne Freidrich (Chicago Fire)

The former German international was one of the main reasons Chicago made the playoffs last season. With Freidrich suffering a hip injury throughout this season, his absence on the back line has led to the Fire’s steep decline. Chicago’s 2012 defender of the year has returned home to Germany earlier this week for specialist treatment on his injured hip. The Fire will be hoping and praying the 34-year-old can return this season.

Calen Carr (Houston Dynamo)

This man is badly needed in Houston. He just gives them something different and his endless running allows Houston’s other players to exploit plenty of gaps. Without Carr the Dynamo don’t look as dynamic going forward. The 30-year-old is still out after having left knee surgery, with Houston rumored to be in for Carlton Cole and others to try and bolster their offense after losing Cam Weaver too. The scorer of the opening goal in MLS Cup 2012 should return before the end of the year. Houston need him.

Jay DeMerit (Vancouver Whitecaps)

One of those gut-wrenching moments occurred in Vancouver’s first-game of the season. DeMerit crumbled in a heap in agony, just minutes into the MLS season against Toronto FC. The 33-year-old former Watford defender ruptured his Achilles tendon and is unlikely to return anytime soon. Only San Jose and Chivas USA have conceded more goals than Martin Rennie’s team. Vancouver’s captain is a big miss at the heart of their defense.

Bright Dike (Portland Timbers)

Just think how many more goals Portland would’ve scored if Dike didn’t tear his left ACL? Wow. With the Timbers already scoring the most goals in the league, 22 through 13 games, the Nigerian international would have added more goals and plenty of pace and power to an already stacked offense. Dike, 26, has an outside chance of returning this summer. What an addition that would be after his blistering finish to last season — 5 goals in the last 11 games — that resulted in a call up to the Nigerian squad.