One of the worst defeats of the season came at a good time for the Columbus Crew.
The Crew flew to Vancouver on Sunday still smarting from the 2-0 loss at FC Dallas the previous night – a game in which they not only were unable to keep pace with the home side but also resulted in three starters being unavailable for the next match.
Yet, the Crew might have fortunate timing on several fronts:
1) They have a quick turnaround with their first visit to Vancouver.
“Sometimes it’s better to play only four days later because obviously we have guys who want to show that we are better than [the FC Dallas game],” coach Robert Warzycha said.
2) The expansion Whitecaps have the worst record in the league (2-8-8, 14 points) and could provide the elixir for the Crew (6-5-6, 24), who after a two-game winning streak, last week lost a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match at home to Richmond (USL Pro) then gave up 26 shots to FC Dallas and allowed two second-half goals.
“It was a bad game on our part,” captain Chad Marshall said of Saturday. “We played well the last two [MLS] games, an away win at Houston and a good home performance against Colorado. We just didn’t put it together.”
3) Although midfielders Emmanuel Ekpo (caution points accumulation), Rich Balchan (groin) and defender Andy Iro (red card) will not play Wednesday, the impact of their absences would have been deeper 10 days ago.
Defender/midfielder Danny O’Rourke played his first MLS game of the season vs. FCD following left knee surgery in November and midfielder Robbie Rogers returned from a month-long stay with the U.S. national team to put in 30 minutes off the bench Saturday.
O’Rourke thinks the ability to train Monday and Tuesday in Vancouver will help the team refocus.
“We’re going to be on the road together,” he said. “We’ll have a lot of time together and get in a couple of good practices and be able to review things really well.”
4) The Crew will have time to regenerate after the two-game swing to Frisco, Tex., and Vancouver. Thanks to the Open Cup upset, instead of a quarterfinal match July 12 at Sporting Kansas City the Crew is off until hosting San Jose on July 16.
TO THE RESCUE:
Midfielder Kevin Burns and rookie defenders Eric Gehrig and Korey Veeder did not travel to Texas but were summoned to Vancouver to fill out the depleted roster.
Burns might start for Ekpo although Eddie Gaven or Bernardo Anor could move from the flank into the middle with Rogers sliding into a wing position.
Burns can also play in Balchan’s holding midfielder spot as can O’Rourke and Dejan Rusmir.
If Julius James (adductor strain) can return after missing two MLS games he will take over for Iro at center back. O’Rourke and Gehrig can also play there.