Crew coach Robert Warzycha has to shuffle the deck of his defense at a most inopportune time. With two-time MLS Defender of the Year Chad Marshall already out because of a hamstring injury, the Crew will be without Brazilian defender Glauber on Sunday at the New York Red Bulls because of a one-game suspension for yellow-card accumulation.
Crew coach Robert Warzycha has to shuffle the deck of his defense at a most inopportune time.
With two-time MLS Defender of the Year Chad Marshall already out because of a hamstring injury, the Crew will be without Brazilian defender Glauber on Sunday at the New York Red Bulls because of a one-game suspension for yellow-card accumulation.
The absences are certain to be felt against New York, which leads the Eastern Conference.
“You have two center defenders out, so obviously you have to do something,” Warzycha said after a light day of practice yesterday in Obetz. “If you have only one (missing), you probably have somebody on the bench who can fill that hole right away. If two (are out), there’s going to have to be some kind of shifting, for sure.”
Warzycha was able to plug in veteran Eric Gehrig for Marshall on Saturday and watch the Crew post its third shutout of the season, though it came against lowly Toronto FC. Against the Red Bulls, Warzycha will look at a number of options to pair with Gehrig as the Crew prepares to face a team that ranks fifth in MLS in goals per game with 1.43. Outside backs Josh Williams and Tyson Wahl are candidates to slide inside, and Warzycha said Danny O’Rourke also could be an option after missing the past two games because of an ankle injury.
Rookie homegrown player Chad Barson, who has experience at all four defensive positions, could be in line for his first start should Williams or Wahl move inside.
“I try to always approach every week the same as if I would be starting, even though there are guys in front of me who are going to get the majority of the minutes,” Barson said.
One bonus: The Crew will have an extra day to prepare for its first Sunday game of the season.
“Those two (Marshall and Glauber) are obviously great defenders,” said Gehrig, who made his season debut against Toronto. “Our defensive record this year has proven that. You can’t deny their size, (and) … they’ve been in thousands of games. Hopefully (Warzycha) can decide who he wants to go with early and that group has an extra day to get more reps and playing time together.
“(On) Sunday, we’re going to have to play our best soccer to get a result in New York.”
Marshall and Glauber are the Crew’s two tallest defenders at 6 feet 4 inches and 6-3, respectively. Much of the team’s defense has been built around their physical presence forcing opponents to the outside, where Crew defenders can win most aerial attacks.
“We’re going to play the same way,” Warzycha said. “It’s just going to be different personnel, but I don’t think we can change anything. … We’re going to find the guys who can play there, and a perfect example is Eric Gehrig.”