Long road leads back to bigs for LA's Marshall

Former D2 defender could play vital role against Ángel, RBNY

Yohance Marshall vs DC United

Photo Credit: 
Robert Mora

CARSON, Calif. – On Sept. 11, Yohance Marshall was trying to help the Austin Aztex claim victory in their second-division match against Puerto Rico Islanders.

One week later, Marshall played a key role in the LA Galaxy’s MLS victory over D.C. United, and could start once more in their illustrious matchup against New York Red Bulls on Friday.

Marshall’s whirlwind September has seen him play games in Texas, Puerto Rico and Carson, but the Trinidadian defender said he was happily surprised by the quick turn of events.

“It was a bit sudden,” Marshall said, "but this is my mother club, so I was pretty happy to come back."

The Galaxy recalled Marshall from Austin to help shore up the club’s central defense position. With Gregg Berhalter still out injured, the number of bodies was limited. With A.J. DeLaGarza hurt as well, the back line suddenly became an area of concern.

That led to Marshall’s return, and he immediately stepped into a starting spot.

While he played for the Galaxy before, it was only in preseason games and friendlies – Marshall saw action against Boca Juniors, for instance. His MLS debut, though, was last Saturday against DC.

“It wasn’t bad, you know,” Marshall said. “I had a little nerves at the beginning, but the guys were talking to me and I think I got through it pretty well.”

Marshall slipped effortlessly into the starting lineup and picked up where Leonardo had left off. With the Brazilian hurt and unavailable for the game, Marshall combined well with stalwart Omar Gonzalez in the back.

Such a position was perhaps an uncomfortable one, but Marshall was up for the challenge.

“He’s been out all year, comes in, steps in and does a great job,” Galaxy left back Todd Dunivant said. “Didn’t miss a beat. Played simple, played smart, played hard, did his job and it was perfect.”

Whether Marshall earns his second start against New York remains to be seen. The Galaxy will be without Gonzalez due to suspension, but both DeLaGarza and Leonardo could be available and ready for action.

Marshall, though, proved himself capable of starting.

“Yohance did quite well getting thrown into things quick,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. “He did a decent job and played with a lot of confidence. He’s going to be a candidate to be in our First XI Friday.

"He was with us all last year and he returned to us form Austin as a better player. I know he’s going to help contribute to our team for the remainder of the year.”

If Marshall plays against New York, he would likely see a great deal of Juan Pablo Angel as well as Rafa Márquez. Coming from a second-division club and then having to deal with such talents might seem challenging, but Marshall said he’s able to get past those sorts of issues in practice.

“I just study every day in practice," he said. "I’m not studying any one player. We practice against Landon Donovan and David Beckham in practice, Edson Buddle, so every player is a player. You can’t look at any one player as a bigger player than the game. Just go out and play the game.”

 

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