Chad Marshall ruled out for Saturday's match against Toronto

Injury to Marshall forces change to Crew backline

Chad Marshall

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USA Today Sports

OBETZ, Ohio – Chad Marshall, a two-time MLS Defender of the Year and the bedrock for the Columbus Crew backline, will miss Saturday's match at Toronto FC. But, according to coach Robert Warzycha, "It could be a while" before the star defender returns to the lineup.

The center back was injured late in the Crew's 2-0 defeat to the Colorado Rapids last Saturday, and Warzycha likened the knock to that of central midfielder Agustín Viana, who has missed the last two matches because of a hamstring strain.

Viana is questionable for Saturday, as is defensive midfielder Danny O'Rourke (ankle), but Warzycha has not ruled either out for the match. The Crew will also be without midfielder Ben Speas (hamstring). Midfielder Dominic Oduro was out of training Tuesday to rest a sore ankle, but is expected to be ready Saturday.

Matías Sánchez made his first start in O'Rourke's place against the Rapids and Warzycha called him one of the best players on the field. Tony Tchani made his third straight start at the center midfield spot that Viana had occupied for seven games.

If O'Rourke is healthy, he could play in Marshall's center back spot. Eric Gehrig, who has split 12 career starts on the backline and in the midfield, is also a candidate to replace Marshall.

If Viana is cleared to play, another possibility to replace Marshall is left back Tyson Wahl. Wahl started the first seven games there before Viana took over against D.C. United on April 27 only to last 20 minutes before his injury. Wahl was signed in the offseason and told MLSsoccer.com at the time, "It sounds like they're looking at me at left back, which I prefer over center back."

READ: Scouting report of the Crew's upcoming opponent, Toronto FC

There was good news for the defense when it was announced Monday that a yellow card for dissent in the Colorado game was mistakenly given to defender Gláuber instead of forward Federico Higuaín.

It would have been Gláuber's fifth of the season and an automatic one-game suspension. If he goes a third straight game Saturday without a caution, he will have the number reduced by one. Meanwhile, Higuaín is up to four yellows and faces a potential suspension as well, although Warzycha questioned why he was issued the latest one.

"He is the captain. He has the right to talk to the referee," Warzycha told MLSsoccer.com. "I don't know if they realize we have a new captain this year [instead of Marshall]. Maybe they're thinking it's still Chad."