OBETZ, Ohio — For Columbus Crew veterans Chad Marshall and Danny O'Rourke, Wednesday's match against the Houston Dynamo will be the first of their careers without Robert Warzycha involved in the club in some fashion.
“It's different,” Marshall told reporters on Tuesday of Warzycha's departure. “He's been here as an assistant or head coach since I've been here. You get to know a guy over the years, and it's sad. He's been a big part of this club and an integral figure, so it's a sad day.”
Marshall joined the club in 2004, and O'Rourke was acquired in 2007, and the veterans said that they need to play the roles of Crew legends Frankie Hejduk and Duncan Oughton in bringing the team back to its success.
“We were young then and we were the ones who kind of looked up to guys like Frankie and Duncan,” O'Rourke said. “But we've been there before, we know what it takes to transition to 2008-2009 when we were successful. So I think it's up to us to kind of keep the guys going and keep them positive. Regardless of the results, as long as we continue to work hard out here, whether we get results tomorrow or Saturday or down the line, we have the talent to do so; we have to figure it out.”
After two training sessions, Bliss doesn't appear to be making large tactical changes, especially in the quick turn around to Wednesday's match against Houston (7:30 pm ET; MLS Live), and players seem to think that the continuity, along with the spark from a new coach, will help keep the team together.
“I don't think Bliss is coming here trying to reinvent the wheel,” O'Rourke said. “He may see things a little differently, but we have the same players. We've had a couple of training sessions, and there are some good things and some things we're going to take some time to get used to. I think some new blood for the Houston game tomorrow is going to be a good thing.”
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For Wil Trapp, the leadership of veterans like Marshall and O'Rourke has kept a young team together, and the 20-year-old said that their presence is necessary to navigate through the transition.
“I think they're huge, just providing insight to young guys like myself who don't know any better,” he said. “They can kind of take us under their wing and instruct us on how to act and how to get through these tough times.”