Crew finally getting healthy

Forwards Rentería, Heinemann could play against Houston

Sebastian Miranda

Photo Credit: 
Jamie Sabau - Getty Images

Crew coach Robert Warzycha wore a compression sleeve on his right leg
because of a slight hamstring strain for Tuesday’s training.

He was okay, but stayed on the sideline during an 8 vs. 8 scrimmage that he might otherwise have been in the middle of.

The coach’s ailment is emblematic of what’s been happening lately with
his team. The rash of injuries seems to be abating a bit, as
half-a-dozen players who were unavailable for Sunday’s 1-0 loss to
Chicago were on the field Tuesday.

Foremost were forwards Tommy Heinemann and Emilio Rentería. Warzycha is
optimistic both will be ready for Saturday’s match at Houston.

Their absences, and those of injured midfielders such as Dilly Duka,
Leandre Griffit and Bernardo Anor — and midfielder Robbie Rogers being
with the US national team — left Warzycha with limited offensive options
against the Fire.

The Crew struggled, especially in the midfield, and allowed the winner
in stoppage time. The lone attacking player Warzycha had in reserve was
19-year-old forward Aaron Horton, the Crew’s first Home Grown player who
made his debut five days earlier against Real Salt Lake.

Unlike that match where the Crew was on the offensive in search of an
insurance goal, Warzycha felt Sunday’s game was not suited for Horton.
Instead, he inserted more defensive-minded midfielders Kevin Burns and
Dejan Rusmir in the second half.

“I was trying to help the midfielders and the team possess the ball,”
Warzycha said. “It was a completely different game than Salt Lake. Salt
Lake was more emotional. [Horton] was fired up. Here, I’m asking the kid
to change the result or the way we’re playing. I couldn’t throw him
under the bus.”

The only sure bets not to be available Saturday are defender Shaun
Francis (left hamstring) and midfielder Duka (right ankle sprain) and
Griffit (abdominal strain), although striker Jeff Cunningham has a sore
hamstring and did stretching exercises Tuesday instead of practicing.

Meanwhile, midfielder Danny O’Rourke is training for his first match of the season after left knee surgery in November.

When that will be is in question.

“That’s up to him,” Warzycha said. “He’s a veteran. He knows when he’s
ready. If he tells me he’s 100 percent, I’d stick him in the games.”

QUICK LEARNER:

While several players have elected not to talk the media at various
times this season, defender Sebastián Miranda reached a milestone Sunday
in his first season in America when he did his first interview in
English.

“I studied English in Chile,” he said Tuesday sans translator again. “I
like this language. I speak not so well yet but I try to speak with my
[defensive] partners, with my coaches. I learn at my house and on TV.

“I try to speak with my neighbor or at the supermarket,” he added.
“Wherever I go, I try to speak English, no Spanish, so I can learn more.
My wife is studying for English, maybe I go later.”

Warzycha is impressed.

“He’s a great guy. He’s a really, really huge pro. He’s an example for
everybody," said the coach. "Six months ago he came here and already he
is giving interviews in English.”