Due to a nagging hip injury suffered in the Crew's 1-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City on October 5, Federico Higuaín will miss Saturday night's Eastern Conference clash against the New England Revolution. Though the Argentine playmaker began jogging once again during the week, Interim Head Coach Brian Bliss and the team's medical staff ruled Higuaín was not fit for game action.
Ethan Finlay will replace Higuaín in the lineup as Dominic Oduro will join Jairo Arrieta on the Crew frontline.
"We said it yesterday that the decision regarding Federico traveling would be a flight-time call," Bliss explained. "After consulting with Federico and the medical staff, we determined that he would be unable to go tonight and so it made sense that he would not travel with us yesterday."
Following the Montreal Impact's 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Union, the Crew needs a win in New England tonight coupled with a Toronto FC win or draw against the Chicago Fire. Higuaín will be re-evaluated and could return with a berth a chance to clinch an MLS Cup Playoff berth next week against the Revolution in Columbus.
"We'll re-evaluate his availability next week, but for now, we believe we have what it takes to get three crucial points tonight," Bliss said.
Crew defender/midfielder Kevan George earned his third cap for the Trinidad & Tobago National Team on Tuesday night as the Soca Warriors drew New Zealand in a friendly, 0-0, in Port of Spain. George entered the match in the 83rd minute, replacing Khaleem Hyland in the T&T midfield.
George is expected to be back and available for selection for the Black & Gold's match against New England on Saturday.
The Crew travels to New England for a crucial Eastern Conference battle with the Revolution on Saturday with both sides' playoff hopes on the line. The match will be the second of three meetings this season between the two MLS Charter Members as the Revs topped the Black & Gold, 2-0 at Crew Stadium. Here is a look back at the prior meeting this season.
The Black & Gold fought the Revolution for 90 minutes, but the Revs netted two in stoppage time to take three points on the road as Jose Gonçalves and Diego Fagundez led New England to victory.
The Crew saw a slight drop across all national media outlets' Power Rankings in Week 33 following Saturday's loss to Sporting Kansas City. The Black & Gold peaked at number 12 in MLSSoccer.com's rankings. Full rankings are below.
Days after Landon Donovan tied Jeff Cunningham's all-time MLS scoring lead with 134 goals, MLSsoccer.com's Jeff Bradley caught-up with the former Crew striker to talk about the record and his prolific career. The two discuss the Jamaican-born striker's humble beginnings and the speed that helped him score 134 times during his MLS career.
For the Crew's Boot Breast Cancer match against Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, winger Dominic Oduro showed up to the stadium sporting his latest hairdo: a pink mohawk with pink ribbons on the the sides of his head for Breast Cancer Awareness month. The design is no surprise as a Ghana flag, a Black & Gold Crew-hawk and various other designs have decorated Oduro's dome in weeks previous.
For more on Oduro's evolving hair, check out Andy Edwards' feature on MLSSoccer.com.
United States U-18 Men's National Team Head Coach Javier Perez announced his 18-man roster for an upcoming four-team tournament in Limoges, France. Included in the roster are Crew Soccer Academy midfielder Ben Swanson and CSA Wolves' forward Ahinga Selemani.
The U.S. will face France, Czech Republic and Poland in the tournament that runs from October 9-13. This is the first major tournament for the cycle of players that will compete in the 2015 U-20 CONCACAF Championships with a goal of advancing to the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.
U.S. U-18 MNT ROSTER BY POSITION:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Jeff Caldwell (NC Fusion; Todd, N.C.), JT Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes; Alamo, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (5): Conor Donovan (Capital Area Railhawks Academy; Fuquay Varina, N.C.), Chase Gasper (Bethesda Olney; Alexandria, Va.), Shaquell Moore (IMG Academy; Powder Springs, Ga.), Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting KC; Lee’s Summit, Mo.), Tommy Redding (Chicago Magic; Oviedo, Fla.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Mukwelle Akale (Minnesota Thunder; Minneapolis, Minn.), Corey Baird (Real Salt Lake AZ; Escondido, Calif.), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham FC; Plano, Texas), Kyle Scott (Chelsea FC; Winterbourne, Bristol), Ben Swanson (Crew Soccer Academy; Grove City, Ohio), Tyler Turner (IMG Academy; Meriden, Conn.)
FORWARDS (5): Andrija Novakovich (Chicago Magic PSG; Muskego, Wis.), Rubio Rubin (FC Utrecht; Beaverton, Ore.), Ahinga Selemani (CSA Wolves; Ann Arbor, Mich.), Alan Winn (Solar Chelsea SC; Garland, Texas), Dembakwi Yomba (Concorde Fire; Lithona, Ga.)
The accolades keep mounting.
For the second consecutive week, Brian Bliss has been tabbed as the top coach in the League by MLSSoccer.com. Joining the Interim Head Coach on the Best XI for Week 31 are Chad Marshall, MLS Player of the Week Dominic Oduro and Federico Higuaín. The Crew is 4-1-0 under Bliss, while Marshall has stepped up to anchor the backline and Higuaín and Oduro have registered a combined five goals and four assists over the last three matches.
For a detalied roster, head over to MLSSoccer.com.
Following Sunday's convincing 4-2 victory over FC Dallas on the road, the Black & Gold shot up across three national media outlets' Power Rankings after Week 31. The Crew's biggest leap was five spots in ESPNFC's weekly poll to 10th place. Complete rankings are listed below.
MLSSoccer.com: 11th (13th)
ESPNFC: 10th (15th)
SI.com: 12th (14th)
The Crew will hope to learn from the mistakes it made in a 3-0 loss at Sporting Kansas City on September 7 when it hosts Peter Vermes' side on Saturday in search of its fourth-straight victory. Before the Black & Gold clash with Sporting, here is a look back at the last meeting between the two clubs.
An early penalty awarded to Sporting doomed the visiting Crew early as Claudio Bieler calmly converted from the spot. Later in the first half, Soony Saad found space in the box to make the deficit 2-0 just before halftime. Though the Crew's play improved in the second half, it wasn't enough to match Sporting's class on the evening as C.J. Sapong added a third for the home side in the 55th minute to hand Brian Bliss his first loss as Interim Head Coach.