Warzycha forced to shuffle backline again as Gláuber sits with yellow card accumulation
As if replacing Chad Marshall wasn't a big enough challenge for Robert Warzycha, the Crew Head Coach will now have to replace fellow centerback Gláuber following the Brazilian's fifth yellow card of the season in the 78th minute of Saturday's 1-0 win against Toronto FC. Warzycha is likely to keep Eric Gehrig in the lineup as Marshall continues to heal from a hamstring injury, but the skipper has multiple options in replacing Gláuber on Sunday against the New York Red Bulls (5:00 P.M./ UniMás, FOX Sports Ohio).
Agustín Viana, who has missed the last three matches with a strained hamstring, seems to be the best option to enter the lineup for Gláuber. The American-born, Uruguayan-raised utility player trained over the weekend and could play at leftback, which would see Tyson Wahl slide over to centerback. Another option could see Josh Williams shift to central defense and Chad Barson start at rightback after making his professional debut against Toronto FC as a substitute. If he is able to return from an ankle sprain, Danny O'Rourke could also be a viable replacement at centerback.
"[Wahl and Williams] are good athletes and I don't think it would be a problem to slide anyone over," Warzycha said. "As a unit, they did well [against Toronto FC] and I am not afraid of sliding someone over or putting somebody new in the lineup."
Gehrig added: "No matter who is in there, I think every one of our players is very capable of doing the job. While it might not be ideal as far as chemistry goes, these things happen in MLS. Someone goes down with injury, yellow card accumulation, a red card: there are going to be times when guys get slid in here or there. We just have to make the best of it."
Though Wahl has only played at leftback this season for the Black & Gold, the veteran has plenty of experience in central defense from his time in Seattle and Kansas City. Before the arrival of Gláuber and Viana, the left-footed defender paired with Marshall at centerback during the Crew's preseason matches.
"We have to make adjustments again this week," Wahl explained. "I think there are a couple options and a couple of ways of working it out, that's up for the coaches to decide. Whoever steps in there, we have capable centerbacks whether it's Josh [Williams] or myself if it's Chad Barson or Viana playing [on the outside].
"I felt pretty comfortable [at centerback]. I do enjoy leftback more because I can get up the field more, but I can be solid at centerback as well."
Whichever route Warzycha takes in assembling his backline, he will get an extra day to evaluate his decision as players gain chemistry with the match against the Red Bulls taking place on Sunday. The extra day could also give more time for Viana to regain his fitness.
"We don't know if [Viana] will be available for Sunday, but we're hoping," the Head Coach said.
Gehrig added: "With the game on Sunday, we'll have an extra couple of days to really get some reps in training and build combinations and confidence."