Columbus Crew sign Austrian defender Emanuel Pogatetz

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On Monday the head coach of the Columbus Crew, Gregg Berhalter, revealed they have signed former Premier League and Austrian international defender, Emanuel Pogatetz.

The former Middlesbrough, Bayer Leverkusen and Hannover defender joins the Crew on a free contract after spending last season at FC Nuremberg in the Bundesliga.

[RELATED: Gonzalez heads to Palermo]

With the MLS transfer window still open for free transfers and loans until Sept. 18, Columbus have snapped up Pogatetz to fill the void left by center back Giancarlo Gonzalez who was sold to Palermo in August for a fee in the region of $5 million after an impressive World Cup with Costa Rica.

Speaking about the acquisition of Pogatetz, Berhalter had the following to say.

“We think Pogatetz is a great addition to the roster,” Berhalter said. “It’s a highly experienced defender, captain of his national team – over 60 caps for Austria – in the Bundesliga, Premier League, you name it. Tons of experience.”

The 32-year-old defender, nicknamed ‘mad dog’ due to his love for physical play, is left-footed and can play as a left-sided center back or at left back. He will give the Crew a boost in their backline heading into the final few weeks of the season. After losing Gonzalez, the Crew have stayed solid at the back and have conceded just three goals in their last four games. Berhalter’s boys have won three of their last four and sit just inside the playoff spots in the Eastern conference.

Pogatetz is not thought to be match fit, but the Austrian will feature for Columbus down the stretch. Alongside Michael Parkhurst, Waylon Francis and Tyson Wahl, Pogatetz is a quality addition to the Crew’s backline as Berhalter continues to impress during his first season as an MLS head coach.