Joe Willis and Chris Korb know each other well.
The pair of second-year players came into the leaguetogether as late round draft picks in 2011, and hit it off immediately. Earlier this year, the duo moved into afour-bedroom house in Alexandria’s Franconia district along with new teammates DannyCruz and Nick DeLeon.
“If Joe makes a great save or stops a penalty, all four of uswill go nuts,” Korb admitted on Wednesday, while seated next to his much-taller roomate in amedia work room at RFK. “Obviously wewant all our teammates to do well, but there is something extra special when it’sone of us.”This week, unique circumstances have Korb and Willis movingagain - this time into Ben Olsen’s projected starting lineup.
“We have faith in our depth,” Olsen said Wednesday afternoting that Robbie Russell would miss "several weeks" with plantar fasciitis inhis left foot. “We’ll be calling upon it this weekend already.”
Though both players expect increased duties in Columbus, the upcoming matchup with the Crew won’t be topic number one in their sharedhousehold.
“We have a pretty good balance between work and personallife,” said Willis, whose locker is situated just a few down from Korb’s in theD.C. dressing room. “We like tohave fun together and try to keep some of the stress of work at work and notbring it home.”
The foursome keep "work at work" as you’d pretty much expecta group of twenty-somethings would: with a steady diet of video games, moviesand television. When not in frontof the TV, the group often prepare their meals together. Korb conceedes that Willis and DeLeon lead the charge in thekitchen - and that he is "more preparer than chef".
Whatever their domestic roles are, real chemistry has beenbuilt – and will translate to the field on Saturday.
“When you have a close relationship with a defender it’sjust a lot easier to communicate with them,” says Willis. “Because you communicate so much on aday to day basis, you have a mutual respect for each other. Anything I say, I know he will listenand vice versa.”
“We’ve played together a lot in reserve games this year andlast year,” Korb added of his defensive partnership with Willis. “It’s the same with me and Danny [Cruz] on theright side. I feel like we meshwell together and it’s very easy to communicate.”