Crew turn once more to role players to make impact in upcoming match at NYRB
OBETZ, Ohio – Back. Middle. Top. No segment of the Columbus Crew might go untouched, as up to five opening-match starters could be missing when they play Sunday at the Eastern Conference-leading New York Red Bulls (5 pm ET, UniMas).
Center back Chad Marshall will be out a second straight game because of a hamstring strain, while his partner for the first 10 matches of 2013, Gláuber, is suspended one game after receiving his fifth caution of the season during Saturday's 1-0 win at Toronto FC.
Moving forward in the lineup, attacker Jairo Arrieta is to serve the second of his two-game suspension vs. the Red Bulls for a wayward elbow in the May 11 defeat to the Colorado Rapids. Although the Crew have appealed for his ban to be reduced so he can play Sunday, coach Robert Warzycha is not expecting the Costa Rican to be available.
"We are preparing the lineup to play without him," he told MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday.
Arrieta has been summoned by his country for a friendly against Canada on May 28 in Edmonton.
"He's supposed to leave after the New York game," Warzycha said. "Obviously, if he's not going to play he can leave early to be with his team. I don't mind."
The other two starters in doubt are center midfielders Danny O'Rourke (ankle) and Agustín Viana (hamstring). Viana has missed three straight games, O'Rourke two.
"I must be patient," Viana said Tuesday. "I'm not feeling as good as I want but we'll see."
Warzycha said both are questionable for Sunday but will have a better idea after Wednesday's training.
The injuries opened the way for defender Chad Barson to become the first Homegrown from the Crew's class of 2013 to play and fourth in team history behind forward Aaron Horton in 2010 and goalkeeper Matt Lampson and midfielder Ben Speas last season. Speas, who has been out two games with a hamstring injury, could be available Sunday. Barson entered in the 83rd minute with the lead on Saturday when left back Tyson Wahl cramped.
"At that point of the game everyone on our team was in preserve mode, survival mode trying to get the result," Barson said. "It was a little different than stepping into a game that had a flow."
One scenario for the Red Bulls game would be to have right back Josh Williams move to the central defense to pair with Eric Gehrig, who filled in for Marshall last week with a strong performance. Barson could then make his first start on the left.
If O'Rourke and Viana aren't ready, Matías Sánchez and Tony Tchani would make a midfield tandem for the third consecutive game. There's no question who will replace Arrieta, though. Wide midfielder Dominic Oduro, who scored his fifth goal of the season against Toronto and third as a forward in front of Federico Higuain, is likely to reclaim that role.