O'Rourke could return for RSL clash

Veteran's leadership could rejoin Crew midfield Saturday

Danny O'Rourke

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"Experience, experience, experience, experience."

That's what head coach Robert Warzycha said Danny O'Rourke brings to the Crew midfield after Friday's training session in Obetz.

"You always want to have experience, whether you're winning games or losing games," Warzycha added. "At the end of the game, there has to be somebody on the field that doesn't panic and maybe directs the other players."

O'Rourke suffered a badly sprained ankle in the 45th minute of Columbus' 2-0 win in Seattle on May 23. Warzycha could have the veteran defensive midfielder back for the Black & Gold's return to Crew Stadium on Saturday night against Real Salt Lake.

The Crew's defenders will be happy to have O'Rourke back patrolling the midfield in front of them once again should Warzycha decide to go with the veteran.

"(Experience) is something you can't really replace," center back Josh Williams said of O'Rourke's presence in the midfield. "There's a lot of young guys in the back or guys that haven't been with the organization for a long time. Danny's been here for five or six years. He's been around the block a couple of times. The veteran leadership is something you can't replace. It's good because he's always disrupting stuff. When the team needs a lift, you look for Danny."

Rookie Kevan George performed admirably while replacing O'Rourke in Seattle and starting the three matches since.

"It's not to say that Kevan (George) didn't come in and play really well," Williams said. "He came in and stepped up, but Danny in there-- you can't replace someone like that."

In addition to the Crew back line, the Columbus midfield will be glad to have O'Rourke back.

"(O'Rourke) has been around many years. Obviously, he's very experienced and kind of knows where to shift and how to help out. It's going to help us a lot. He's a great player and we need him back," winger Justin Meram said.

The second-year player added, "Anytime you have somebody that's a veteran playing, they're a little more calm and a little bit more busy in a sense of just knowing where to be and where not to be in situations."

O'Rourke has declined media requests until he returns to the field, but as Williams said of the midfielder:

"He's not really a lot of talk. He does all his talking with his play. To have him back is definitely something this team needs."