Crew forced to make changes once more with Glauber out for the season
COLUMBUS, Ohio — When Columbus Crew coach Robert Warzycha saw center back Gláuber collide with Chicago forward Chris Rolfe, land awkwardly and crumple to the Toyota Park turf in Thursday afternoon's Lamar Hunt US Open Cup clash, he tried to put his worst fears aside.
"I was very positive that maybe he just sprained his knee or twisted his ankle," Warzycha told MLSsoccer.com by phone.
However, with teammates signaling for medical attention, the coach had a flashback to May 29 when midfielder Eddie Gaven suffered a season-ending torn ACL in an Open Cup third-round match against Dayton.
Unfortunately for the Crew, history repeated itself as the team confirmed Friday that a torn ACL in Gláuber's left knee will also put the Brazilian out for the remainder of the year. The Brazilian's surgery is expected to take place in two weeks while Gaven is scheduled to undergo surgery on June 21.
"We asked each other, 'Can you believe this is happening again?'" Williams recalled.
Gláuber scored one goal in 13 starts in his first MLS season, and his injury continued a recent rash of injuries to Crew starters, which has in turn helped Columbus tumble to a 1-3-2 record in their last six games.
Midfielder Agustín Viana (hamstring) will miss his seventh straight match when Columbus host Montreal on Saturday (7:30 pm ET, Univision Deportes/MLS Live). Midfielder Danny O'Rourke (ankle) has not returned to the first XI since sitting the games of May 11 and 18.
And though Gláuber's fellow center back Chad Marshall (hamstring) and Williams (calf), a right back, have missed the past three and two games, respectively, Warzycha said they might pair in the middle Saturday.
Complicating the issue is that Williams' replacement, rookie Chad Barson, possibly has an ear infection and is doubtful for Saturday. That means Gehrig or Kevan George could also get the start vs. Montreal.
"It's time for other guys to step up," Williams said. "There's no excuses now. Everybody's going to get a shot. It's sink or swim time."
Long-term replacements for Gláuber or Gaven might be tough because the Crew has little space under the salary cap.
"We're going to try to do something whether through a trade or bring somebody else in," Warzycha said.
The cruel irony for Gláuber is when Wednesday's match against Chicago was postponed to Thursday afternoon because of severe weather, he was one of the few starters not pulled from the original lineup to rest for Saturday's match.
"If anybody could play two games it was Gláuber because he positions himself very well, reads the game very well and he's fit," Warzycha said. "We thought he was the one that could manage the two games."
Now, Warzycha is seeking anything Saturday to lift the dark clouds hovering the team.
"We need something special from one player," he said. "It would be nice to win and come off the field really inspired."