O'Rourke's ejection proves costly for Crew back line
Danny O’Rourke’s outburst after a possible handball—and the referees no-call that followed it—that led to FC Dallas' stoppage-time tying goal on Saturday could cost him more than just money and a one-game suspension.
O’Rourke received a red card and was suspended and fined the standard $250. The MLS Disciplinary Committee added an extra $500 penalty for an offensive gesture toward officials.
“I probably did and said some things I shouldn’t have,” O’Rourke said. “You don’t want to see a game changed by a referee’s decision. That’s what happened. I thought he was close enough to see it. I saw it and was marking someone at the back post. I still shouldn’t have said and done what I did but it’s frustrating.”
His coach wasn’t happy that O’Rourke won’t be available for the April 24 match against Real Salt Lake.
“If you’re trying to build a team then you have to have some consistency but something like this you can’t ever be consistent,” Robert Warzycha said. “How many [games] he’s going to sit? I don’t know. He took himself out of the lineup.”
O’Rourke started at left back for an ill Gino Padula in the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals on March 17.
Many expected Padula to return to the first XI for the season opener against Toronto FC, but O’Rourke was the starter again as he was vs. FC Dallas.
“Danny played well," Warzycha said. "That’s why he was he was kept in that position.”
The ejection changes everything, and Padula hopes to take advantage of his opportunity.
“When I’m not playing, I’m not happy,” Padula said. “It’s not just me. Every player feels the same thing. I want to play every game.”
Padula's absence was notable. The Crew lost just one of 18 games in which the Argentine started during his first season, when the team won the MLS Cup in 2008. He made 27 starts last year, helping the Crew claim a second straight Supporters’ Shield. He feels like he has earned the starting job.
“Of course it’s good to play, but it’s a little different playing for someone who has a suspension or injury,” Padula said.
“Gino is going to have a chance to play,” Warzycha said. “He may play more games. He’s a good enough player to get his spot back.”
The Crew will have a different back four for the third straight match. Chad Marshall (groin) missed the first MLS game and center back partner Eric Brunner (concussion) sat out the second, though Brunner could be cleared for the Real Salt Lake game.
Of equal concern to Warzycha is that the Crew received three red cards in the past four matches including Toluca, a preseason match against FC Dallas and last Saturday’s game.
“None of the red cards were for 50-50 [challenges],” Warzycha said. “All the red cards were different and not supposed to happen.”
O’Rourke knows he has to make amends.
“Robert was disappointed, and rightfully so, about the way it happened,” O’Rourke said. “A red card, if it were a tackle wouldn’t be as bad. Our whole team will have to use it as an example to keep our cool even if the ref gives us bad calls. We’ve got to just roll with the punches.