OBETZ, Ohio – An extra day before playing Sporting Kansas City on Sunday is welcomed by the Columbus Crew.
Tuesday’s practice, the first since a 3-2 win last Saturday over Philadelphia, saw coach Robert Warzycha cut back on or eliminate entirely the workload for several players, including forward Federico Higuaín.
The Designated Player has been bothered by a sore foot for more than a month, but Warzycha told MLSsoccer.com after training that Higuaín should be ready for Wednesday’s practice.
It’s the same for forward Jairo Arrieta, whose ankle was sore going into the Philly match and was in even worse shape by the end despite scoring twice.
“He needed a day of rest,” Warzycha said. “He got beat up a lot. His ankle swelled when he got kicked in the first half by the goalie. It’s difficult to keep him off the field to be honest. He’ll be on the field tomorrow.”
Central defender Chad Marshall was a bystander as well for much of the training.
“He got kicked in the ankle [Saturday],” he said. “We’re given him the day off. He’ll be all right.”
Midfielder Dilly Duka trained after being held out of the Union match.
“It was his calf,” Warzycha said. “He got kicked Thursday then stomped on a foot. He was worried about his Achilles.”
Meanwhile, the good news was reserved for defender Carlos Mendes. Tuesday was his hardest practice yet after missing seven games because of a hamstring strain.
On the other hand, defensive midfielder Rich Balchan’s attempt to return this season following three groin surgeries took a hit Thursday when he experienced discomfort and was held out of Sunday’s reserve match.
“Any pain, he wants to be sure he is good before he comes back,” Warzycha said.
Also, Danny O’Rourke had a light day of recovery but Warzycha is not concerned because the midfielder is suspended for Sunday’s game.
Finally, centerback Julius James had to pop his right shoulder back into place twice against the Union, so he was limited to non-contact training Tuesday. He expects to use a shoulder harness for Sunday’s game.
He had his second surgery on his left shoulder in the November and missed the first three months of the season. He’s also had two surgeries on the right shoulder.
James is contemplating staying in Columbus during the open weekend of Oct. 13-14 to rehab the shoulder instead of playing a pair of games for Trinidad and Tobago. He will decide later this week.