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Julius James Suspended, Defenders Needed

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James is suspended for tomorrow's game. The back line is awfully thin.
James is suspended for tomorrow's game. The back line is awfully thin.

The MLS Disipline Committee tagged the Crew with another suspension this evening. Julius James joins Josh Williams in the stands after he was caught elbowing Antoine Hoppenot in the 78th minute on Wednesday. The referee and assistants didn't catch the infraction during the game, but video sees all, well most.

This leaves the Crew very short along the back line. Carlos Mendes is sidelined by a hamstring injury and joins James and Williams on the sideline. Chad Marshall, Danny O'Rourke, and Eric Gehrig are the only players avalable that have seen action at central back avalable for tomorrow night.

It's certainly not the news that the team wanted. Two suspensions along the back line will prompt yet more changes. O'Rourke can slot in either at center or left back. Gehrig can play in the center. Nemanja Vukovic is finally healthy and avalable for the left back spot.

Two other options remain on the team, Chris Birchall has played along the back line in his career but it isn't a natural fit for him and would leave a hole in the midfield. Ethan Finlay has filled on defense when the Crew were stretched for non league matches. Finlay is much more comfortable further up the field and would be a lesser option than any of Warzycha's other options.

It's unclear what Warzycha will do, but this seems like an occasion not to get fancy and rather play to players strengths. That means slotting O'Rourke in central defense and putting Vukovic on the left. These are more natural spots for both players. Vukovic, however, appears in Warzycha's dog house; a spot that can be very hard to escape from.

Who ever lines up for the Crew will be in for a challenge. Montreal are hot and can score goals. The team's playoff chances hinge on keeping them from doing that.