COLUMBUS – Crew captain Chad Marshall pulled himself from the lineup shortly before Sunday’s 2-1 victory against D.C. United after testing his gimpy left ankle. It turns out that he wasn’t the only one who came to Crew Stadium uncertain of his status.
Danny O’Rourke, who sat out Wednesday’s loss at Sporting Kansas City, had been bothered by the surgically repaired left knee that cost him almost 75 percent of the season, but arrived early and informed coach Robert Warzycha that he was healthy.
“It was frustrating because I wasn’t able to practice that much and my legs were just shot trying to get back into it,” O’Rourke said. “We have one of the best support staffs around and I felt better before the game, so I thought I would give it a go.”
Warzycha inserted O’Rourke’s name on the lineup card in his usual holding midfielder spot only to make a change before the kickoff once Marshall became unavailable.
“The field was hard. When Chad went to do warm-ups he felt the ankle wasn’t stable enough,” Warzycha said.
O’Rourke moved to central defense and Kevin Burns was added to the first XI in O’Rourke’s position.
“I found out 45 minutes before that I was playing centerback, which I really don’t like,” O’Rourke said. “It definitely took awhile to get used to it at the beginning. Once I settled down it was better.
“I was looking forward to playing in the middle against [Dwayne] De Rosario - he’s an old teammate - but whatever it takes to get a victory.”
Not only did O’Rourke play the full match, but he also contributed to the winning goal in the 60th minute by putting the ball down the right side to overlapping defender Sebastian Miranda.
After Miranda wheeled by Santino Quaranta he dribbled to the edge of the penalty area and found Eddie Gaven for a diving header.
“That’s a veteran player,” Warzycha said of Miranda. “He saw an opportunity. The timing of the cross was very good. Nobody was pressuring him and we had numbers in the box. Eddie held onto his run a little bit and that’s why Sebastian picked him.”
ON THE MEND:
An open weekend comes at a good time.
Warzycha thinks Marshall will be ready for the Oct. 15 match at New England, although starting midfielder Robbie Rogers might be questionable because of a right hamstring strain that kept him out Sunday. If he can resume training next week, Rogers could at least be available off the bench.
The good news is that midfielder Rich Balchan, who was limited to two of the previous 14 games because of injury, played 26 minutes Sunday in his return and Gaven went the distance in his first game since Aug. 5.
“If we get everybody back we’re a dangerous team. But that’s a big ‘if,’” O’Rourke said.