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Warzycha faces tough lineup choices ahead of NE visit

Robert Warzycha (CLB - NE)

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OBETZ, Ohio – Columbus coach Robert Warzycha knows none of his tired players will answer negatively when he asks if they want to come out of lineup for the Crew’s fourth game since Aug. 15, when they host New England on Saturday (7:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online).

“You listen to some of them. You don’t listen to the other ones,” he joked. “The ones you want playing, you listen to.”

His options are tough, though, because the Crew (9-8-6) are playing well lately, having recorded a tie against LA, a draw at Houston and Wednesday’s 2-1 victory over Toronto FC in Crew Stadium.

Higuaín paces Crew to win over TFC

“They’re all saying they’re good to go but we have to be smart enough to make a decision,” Warzycha told MLSsoccer.com on Friday.

In all, the coach has used 16 players in the past three matches.

Of course, the big question is whether Designated Player Federico Higuaín will be rested enough for another start. The forward played the final 45 minutes at Houston on Sunday in his debut and had an assist in the 2-2 game. He started and had a goal and an assist against Toronto in 76 minutes.

“I think he’s smart enough to handle it,” Warzycha said.

Higuaín has provided a boost to an attack that has yet to get three goals in game but will look to score at least two in a third straight match for the first time this season.

“He’s good for defenders because he plays a possession type of game,” defender Julius James said. “It gives the defender a chance to rest and organize more.”

While Warzycha would like to give players with fresh legs such as James a chance, he doesn’t like to tinker with lineups after a win.

Saturday’s match is the second straight at home against a team below the Crew in the standings so anything less than three points would be unacceptable as they trail D.C. United by seven points for the final playoff spot with 11 games remaining.