Chad Marshall is the longest tenured player on the Crew roster. He joined as the second overall player in the 2004 SuperDraft. He's a member of the 200 games club, one of four players to reach that plateau. He's a club legend, but he also if facing a constantly uncertain future. His exemplary defensive reputation took a hit as he looked just a bit off. He also missed 8 games with a reoccurrence of a concussion. At 28, he's becoming a different player. He's becoming the veteran.
Marshall's season started off with a string of solid performances as the defense kept the team in most of their games. Higuain and Arrieta-less offense struggled mightily, and it was only a string of solid performances that helped the Crew to a subpar 2-4-1 start. The only bright side was Marshall notching his first goal since June of 2010 against New York in April.
The trajectory of Marshall's season would change in early May as he took a ball off his head during training and suffered dizziness. Given his extensive history of concussions, he was screened and subsequently held out for eight games until finally recovering and gaining a medical clearance.
After reentering the team in July, he played in 17 straight games, but appeared to struggle. He often seemed to get a bad jump and struggled with balls high in the air, a rarity for a player who is known for his aerial prowess. The team defense suffered as well as the backline, solid in the first half, leaked quite a few goals down the stretch.
Marshall would sit out the team's playoff decider against D.C. late in the season and then the season finale against Toronto F.C. due to an ankle injury. The team would quickly announce that Marshall had undergone successful surgery to repair damage to his right ankle. The injury caused him significant pain throughout the year and certainly hampered his performances.
Marshall will be a key member of the Crew's defense in 2013, but to be the game changing player he has been over his career, Marshall will have to improve. His ankle injury certainly slowed his and getting that fixed will return some of his mobility, but his concussion history is always a pause for serious concern.
Final Grade - 5: Injuries slowed his 2012 campaign, but as he approaches 30, that may become more of the norm.