Robert Warzycha does not plan to replace Duncan Oughton on his coaching staff for one primary reason.

He can't.

Robert Warzycha does not plan to replace Duncan Oughton on his coaching staff for one primary reason.

He can’t.

“I brought Duncan (in) because I saw that personality,” the head coach said after today’s training session at Crew Stadium. “That’s why I wanted him to be with the team: because I saw that personality. As of right now, I don’t want to bring in somebody just to bring him. I thought that with his personality and playing for this club and being here for so many years, he can help us and the players with his knowledge on the field.”

After a 10-year MLS playing career spent exclusively with the Crew, Oughton joined the Crew staff as an assistant coach at the request of former teammate Warzycha.

“(I noticed) his personality,” Warzycha said. “His personality is very positive. He has very good knowledge. His assessment of players and the games and performances is spot on. I don’t think he’s nervous. He’s good at analyzing things with an open mind.”

It was one of many roles Oughton filled for the Crew ranging from color commentator on regional television broadcasts to assistant technical director to co-host of the team’s weekly radio show.

Now headed to Toronto to serve exclusively as an assistant coach, Oughton will depart Sunday after calling his last Crew game. He watched today’s training session from the stands while reporters were allowed access, and Oughton was fighting back tears while accepting handshakes and well-wishes from those surrounding the team. The same went for Frankie Hejduk, also a member of the team’s front office and a former teammate, who told me he was wearing sunglasses to cover his red eyes.

Wednesday, Oughton said he first broke the news to Warzycha.

“He’s taught me a lot,” Oughton said of Warzycha. “That made the decision a whole lot harder too, leaving someone I’m still learning from and someone I still have a lot to learn from. He does have a lot to teach. He is good. Sometimes he doesn’t get a fair shake, but he should because he’s a big reason why this team is rolling forward. He was the first person in the club that I told, because obviously he was the one who gave me a chance and brought me into the coaching side.”

Warzycha said it was an emotional conversation.

“He loves the city and he played all of his career here in Columbus,” the coach said. “It’s not like it was an easy decision. I wish we could keep him.”

That much was obvious at today’s training session, although there will be a reunion of sorts next weekend. Oughton’s first game on staff with Toronto will be a home game against the Crew.

Asked if he was worried about Oughton providing Toronto will too much inside information, Warzycha laughed.

“There’s not any secrets in soccer,” the coach said. “Everybody knows everybody’s personality and style of coaching. There’s not much you can do different. Everything is the same. The question is when they’re doing it and how much. All the drills are the same. We’re playing with the same balls and we have the same size field. I’m sure he knows the players more than ones from other teams, but you put 11 players on the field and the performance that day will determine if you win or lose.”