COLUMBUS – Columbus Crew coach Robert Warzycha may have found his new center back pairing by reaching into the past.
Danny O'Rourke and Chad Marshall started in the middle for the first time in 25 games on Thursday against the LA Galaxy at the StubHub Center, where the two previously aligned to lead the Crew to a victory over New York in MLS Cup 2008.
"It was weird," O'Rourke said. "I hadn't played with Chad for awhile but he makes it so easy for me back there the way he reads the game and reacts to the ball. We've played together before so it didn't take long to get comfortable."
O'Rourke was moved from central midfield after the Crew had conceded five goals in the first two games since centerback Glauber suffered a season-ending knee injury on June 13.
Even though the results show otherwise, the Crew (5-8-5) had a better match defensively against the Galaxy, particularly O'Rourke, who stifled Robbie Keane in open play only to see him convert penalties in the 85th and 92nd minutes to lift LA to a 2-1 win.
"Danny probably had his best game of the year," Warzycha said.
Look for Marshall and O'Rourke to combine again Sunday as the revamped but reeling Columbus tries to end a three-game losing streak against Portland in Crew Stadium (5 pm ET, watch FREE on MLS Stream of the Week).
O'Rourke's move sent Josh Williams from center defense to outside right where rookie Chad Barson had started the previous five matches. Barson then started for left back Tyson Wahl even though Williams had spent much of last season there.
"[Williams] is more comfortable on the right side and we thought Chad [Barson] could do the job on the left," Warzycha said.
It appears Bernardo Anor's place in the lineup is safe after scoring on Thursday. A natural left-footer, Warzycha likes his ability to cut toward goal from the right side.
"My priority is to be in the right position, making the right play and creating chances for myself or my teammates to score goals," Anor said.