OBETZ, Ohio – Columbus Crew defender Chad Marshall called his team’s loss to the New York Red Bulls on April 7 a “bad game.”
That's probably an understatement. The Crew were down 3-0 inside 40 minutes as Thierry Henry led RBNY to a dominant 4-1 win.
“You kind of throw it away and move on,” he said.
But there was one positive play out of the defeat, one that Marshall says he has viewed it several times on tape: In the 89th minute, he scored a header off a corner kick by rookie midfielder Kirk Urso.
As it turned out, it would the only point of Urso’s MLS career before his tragic death on Aug. 5.
“The kid served an unreal ball,” Marshall told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday. “It was nice I was able to get on the end of one for him.”
The memory of that moment will be with the center back as he readies to face New York on Saturday at Red Bull Arena. It’s the first time the Crew have faced the Red Bulls since their early-season loss. But during the months in between meetings, Columbus (12-9-6) have morphed into an almost entirely new team.
In fact, there will be at least six changes in the starting XI from April 7. Urso’s passing is the most noticeable change, but the Crew will also be without Shaun Francis, who was waived on June 27, and Bernardo Añor, who suffered a season-ending knee injury on July 14.
Meanwhile, center back Eric Gehrig has not cracked the lineup for nine matches, forward Olman Vargas has not featured in the Crew’s last 10 MLS fixtures, and Emilio Rentería has been relegated to the bench due to the scintillating play of Federico Higuaín and Jairo Arrieta.
Even the two substitutes used in the first New York game have seen little time of late. Forward Aaron Schoenfeld has not played in 11 games. Midfielder Ethan Finlay has 21 minutes in the past eight games.
“At that point in the season, in our mind, that was the best team we could put on the field because we had something like 13 players injured,” Columbus head coach Robert Warzycha said.
The only starters from the game who are expected to repeat Saturday are Marshall, goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum, right back Sebastián Miranda and midfielders Eddie Gaven and Milovan Mirosevic.
Gaven was replaced by Finlay in the 55th minute, the only time the club leader in minutes has not been on the field all season.
“That was a tough game for pretty much everybody,” Gaven said. “It’s one we’d all like to forget. We’re going there to try and prove that game was a fluke and that’s not the team we really are.”
In so many ways, he’s already right.