Federico Higuain continues to lead MLS in corner kicks this season (119). His career high for a single season was 123 last year, which he is on-pace to potentially break. Overall, Higuain is third on the Crew’s all-time list for corners, trailing Robert Warzycha (503) and Guillermo Barros Schelotto (423).
Always looking to create, Federico Higuain ranks second in Major League Soccer in passes in the final third with 659. Higuain trails Javier Morales (652) of Real Salt lake by just three passes in the final third entering this week.
Crew captain Michael Parkhurst continues to lead Major League Soccer this season in passing accuracy among all defenders that have played at least 20 matches this season. The MLS All-Star has completed 87.53 percent of his passes and has worn the armband in 26 tilts for the Black & Gold in 2014.
LOOKING FOR FIRST WIN IN DYNAMO’S NEW HOME
The Black & Gold return to BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday for the second time in 2014 ... after falling in the first match in Houston -- a 1-0 Dynamo win on May 7 -- the Crew looks to secure its first win at the Dynamo venue that opened in 2012 ... in the three previous meetings at the venue, the Crew (0-2-1) has battled, with losses coming in just one or two-goal margins on top of the draw in the first meeting on August 19, 2012.
FIVE GAMES, FIVE GOALS FOR MERAM
Justin Meram has been on a scoring tear, registering five goals over the last five matches dating back to August 9 against Toronto FC ... Meram recorded a tally in three straight matches from August 9 - August 23 and returned with a brace following the shutout loss at Montreal.
MERAM MAGIC ...
Justin Meram scored his seventh goal of the season to open the scoring in 3-0 win over Chivas USA on September 7 … Meram has scored a goal in four of the club’s last five matches ... of Meram’s 12 career goals since 2011, seven of them have come in 2014.
... AND JUSTIN HAS BEEN PRODUCTIVE
Of midfielders in MLS that have played at least 20 games this season, Justin Meram enters the week ranked first in minutes per goal scored (165.43) ... a look at Opta numbers is below, showing that Meram has scored once every 1.8 matches for the Crew.
**Numbers entering the week as of 9/8/14
Federico Higuain leads MLS in corner kicks this season (104). His career high for a single season was 123 last year. Overall, Higuain is third on the Crew’s all-time list for corners, trailing Robert Warzycha (503) and Guillermo Barros Schelotto (423).
Tony Tchani leads MLS in passes attempted this season (1,496). He ranks second in successful passes (1,273). Wil Trapp is fourth in MLS in both categories.
In 630 total minutes of action in the all-time, regular-season series between the Crew and the Impact, the Black & Gold have outscored Montreal 12-6. Six players have found the net for the Crew with Dominic Oduro’s three tallies against the Impact in 2013 leading the way. Chad Marshall, Milovan Mirosevic and most recently Bernardo Anor have each scored two goals for Columbus in the series. The Black & Gold’s Argentine maestro Federico Higuaín leads the club with four assists against the Impact. In contrast, just three players have scored the six goals for the Impact -- four of those strikes have come from the foot of Designated Player Marco Di Vaio.
BACK ON THE ROAD
After a three-game homestand, the Black & Gold return to the road for a test at Montreal this weekend ... since June 7, the Crew has secured at least one point on the road in four of its last five away tilts, including a two-match road unbeaten streak that began with a win at New England on July 26 ... after this weekend, the Crew plays just one road match in the month of September -- a clash at Houston on the 13th -- before a three-match road swing to open the month of October.
SECOND AND FINAL TRIP NORTH OF THE BORDER IN 2014
After five trips to Canada in 2013, the Crew makes just its second -- and final -- trip to Canada in 2014 this Saturday ... the upcoming trip to Montreal is the Crew’s 16th overall regular-season match north of the border ... although the Black & Gold fell to Toronto on May 31, 2014, the Crew has secured points in 11 of the 15 previous meetings up North and is 5-4-6 in those Canadian-hosted matches ... Columbus is 3-2-5 in 10 matches at Toronto FC, has a 1-1-0 record at Vancouver and is 1-1-1 in Montreal ... additional Ohio ties to Canada include Assistant Coach Pat Onstad ... Onstad’s extensive Canadian ties are available on his bio at TheCrew.com.
Entering the week, 23 players in MLS have recorded four goals and four assists for their clubs in 2014 ... thanks to the recent offensive outburst from Ethan Finlay and Justin Meram, Finlay (6 goals, 4 assists) and Meram (5 goals, 4 assists) join Federico Higuain (9 goals, 6 assists) on the Crew as the only club within this group to have three players with at least four tallies and four helpers ... LA, Philadelphia, Seattle, Chicago, Real Salt Lake and Houston each have two players within that group while New York, Vancouver, Portland, FC Dallas, Toronto FC and Colorado have just one player with at least four strikes and four assists.
After taking an early 2-0 lead against LA, the Crew earned a crucial trio of points at home in a 4-1 victory last Saturday. With the win, the Black & Gold are unbeaten (5- 0-3) in 2014 when leading at halftime.
Last Saturday saw a four-goal performance for the Crew behind a couple of season-high statistics on the shooting side. The 21 total shots matched a season high from the June 4 draw against Real Salt Lake, while the 12 shots on goal are a new season benchmark as the Black & Gold buried one-third of their total shots on frame for goals.
The Crew’s Steve Clark, Giancarlo Gonzalez and Tony Tchani were named to MLSsoccer.com’s Team of the Week following Saturday’s 4-1 win over the LA Galaxy. With three players on the list in Week 23, it’s the Black & Gold’s highest total of the season. Justin Meram was named honorable mention.
The Crew still has plenty of regular-season action to go in the current campaign, but fans already enjoying the new era of Black & Gold soccer can look ahead to locking in their seats for the 2015 campaign by purchasing or extending a season ticket membership. Fans interested in pricing and membership benefits should check out TheCrew.com/membership to be a part of #OurCrew2015.
GREAT HOME CROWDS
The Crew completes a three-match homestand on Saturday with a visit from Houston, looking to build-off the home attendance success in recent weeks ... over the last two weeks, the Crew has averaged 19,275 fans per game ... last Saturday’s attendance of 20,729 marked the Crew’s third sellout of the season ... that attendance marks the 30th largest all-time crowd in Crew Stadium history dating back to 1999, which includes MLS regular-season, MLS Cup Playoffs, an MLS Cup and U.S. Soccer matches.
DOMINATING THE DYNAMO IN COLUMBUS
Houston arrives in Columbus for its 10th trip to Columbus Crew Stadium since 2006 ... Crew Stadium has not been kind to the Dynamo ... since a June 10, 2007 victory for Houston in Columbus, the Crew is unbeaten (4-0-3) against Houston at home ... in that span, the Crew has outscored Houston, 13-6 and has shut-out the Texas side four times.
Four different Crew players scored in Saturday’s 4-1 win over the LA Galaxy ... it was the Crew’s first four-goal performance of the season and first since the 4-2 win at FC Dallas on September 29, 2013.
A FIRST FOR SPEAS, GONZALEZ
On Saturday against LA, Ben Speas recorded his first goal of the season in the 75th minute to give the Crew a 3-1 lead and Giancarlo Gonzalez scored his first goal in his MLS career in the 84th minute in the match’s final strike of the evening ... Gonzalez became the first Crew defender to score in 2014 ... for Speas, it was the second career goal for the midfielder ... Speas scored his first strike in D.C. last season in a tally that earned him the club’s Goal of the Year award, voted by the fans.
Goalkeeper Steve Clark has appeared in all 23 matches for the Crew in 2014. His most recent performance included a five-save effort. In total, Clark now has had one six-save performance and five matches with five saves thus far in 2014. Clark is six ap- pearances shy of moving into a four-way tie for fifth place on the Crew’s single-season games played list, currently occupied by William Hesmer (29 - 2008), Brad Friedel (29 - 1997) and Jon Busch (29 - 2004).
Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan enter Columbus this weekend as the two active international team players with the most goals, following the retirement of Germany’s Miroslav Klose. Keane has 62 goals for Ireland while Donovan has scored 57 goals for the U.S. Men’s National Team.
Federico Higuain now has 25 goals and 21 assists in 62 appearances for the Crew dating back to August 19, 2012. He set a career-high in goals last year with 11 in 29 appearances. The Argentine has found the back of the net nine times in 2014 with 11 regular-season matches remaining, including Saturday.
In case you missed it last weekend during Kirk Urso Memorial Night, in partnership with The Children’s Heart Foundation, the Crew Soccer Foundation announced it has awarded a $50,000 grant from the Kirk Urso Memorial Fund to Dr. Christo- pher Breuer and Dr. Toshiharu Shinoka of Nationwide Children’s Hospital for their research on the treatment of cardiac heart defects in youth. The grant was the largest in the Foundation’s history and Drs. Breuer and Shinoka were recognized during halftime of the Crew match against Toronto FC held on Kirk Urso Memorial Night at Crew Stadium. Drs. Breuer and Shinoka’s tissue engineering research holds incredible potential for repairing birth defects, allowing a child’s own cells to be used to grow new tissue or organs for repair.
BERHALTER ON LEARNING FROM ARENA
Though it’s likely Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter has learned one thing or another from each of the coaches he played under during his 16-year career, the former defender has taken more from Bruce Arena due to the success the National Soccer Hall of Fame coach has seen in Major League Soccer’s history, including four MLS Cup wins and three Coach of the Year awards ... “I take a lot from [Arena],” Berhalter admitted ... “It’s not just one thing. Something that stands out, however, is how he gets his teams to compete. He doesn’t accept anything less than 100 percent. He makes that known.” ... “It will be fun,” Berhalter said ... “Obviously, I look up to him and he’s had a big influence on my career both on the playing field and off. It’ll be a good day.”
PIPA’S LAST THREE
Since scoring a beautiful goal off of a free kick in New England on July 26, Federico Higuain has been on a scoring tear ... the club’s Designated Player has tallied in three straight games after finding a goal on August 2 and again last weekend against Toronto ... Higuain leads the Crew this year in goals (nine) and assists (five).
FAST APPROACHING A CREW RECORD FOR PK’S
Federico Higuain has now scored 11 of his 25 career goals for the Crew in attempts from the penalty spot ... with his spot kick last weekend against Toronto FC, he is now tied for second with Brian McBride for second all-time in penalty kick goals, with 11 ... Guillermo Barros Schelotto leads the Crew with 13 penalty kick goals.
FINLAY’S LAST DOZEN TILTS
With his game-tying assist in Chicago to open the month, Ethan Finlay has recorded a goal or an assist in eight of the last 12 League matches he’s played in dating back to May 17 at Portland ... Finlay scored his first career tally in Oregon before returning home for a second goal against Chicago on May 24 ... on May 31 in Toronto, Finlay added an assist on Justin Meram’s tally to open the scoring before scoring on June 4 ... the Crew was held scoreless in the 0-0 draw on June 7 and Finlay missed action on June 29 after recovering from an appendectomy ... he returned with the team’s lone goal in the 1-1 draw at Colorado on July 4 ... Finlay also assisted Adam Bedell’s goal in the July 12 match at New York and added the game-winning goal on July 26 at New England.
FINAL LEG OF TRILLIUM CUP PRESENTED BY SCOTTS ...
The Crew and Toronto FC battle on Saturday for the third and final meeting in the Trillium Cup, presented by Scotts ... Toronto secured the trophy with a 3-2 win in Toronto on May 31 and a 2-0 victory at Crew Stadium in April in the first match of the regular-season series ... Trillium is the provincial flower of Ontario and the state wildflower of Ohio and Scotts joined as the presenting sponsor of the award ahead of the 2013 series ... the trophy was first awarded in 2008.
... AND REVENGE IS ON THE LINE
Following Toronto FC’s 3-2 win on May 31 to secure the Trillium Cup, presented by Scotts, the Crew has the ability to play for revenge and crucial Eastern Conference points ... despite the trophy loss this year, the Crew has secured the Trillium Cup five times ... 2008 marked the first year the award was up for grabs and the Crew held the trophy from 2008-2010 before a Toronto regular-season series victory gave the Reds the Cup for 2011 -- Toronto’s only Trillium Cup victory prior to this year ... the Crew regained the award in 2012 with three victories over Toronto and retained it in 2013 with a 2-1-0 record against the Reds ... Saturday is also the first meeting between the Crew and former forward Dominic Oduro, who was traded to Toronto on June 6.
PIPA LOVES THE REDS
Toronto FC got a break from Federico Higuain in the last meeting on May 31 while the Argentine served a one-match suspension for yellow-card accumulation ... Higuain has been lethal against Toronto and has recorded five goals and two assists in just six meetings with Toronto FC ... he recorded a two-goal performance on August 18, 2013, assisted Dominic Oduro on the game-winning goal on May 18, 2013 and the Crew playmaker recorded a brace in the final meeting between the two teams in 2012 on October 28 ... Pipa has been quite efficient against the Reds, as he’s scored all five goals on just seven shots on goal in 525 minutes.
OH THANK HEAVEN, ETHAN FINLAY’S LAST ELEVEN
With his game-tying assist in Chicago last weekend, Ethan Finlay has now recorded a goal or an assist in eight of the last 11 League matches he’s played in dating back to May 17 at Portland ... Finlay scored his first career tally in Oregon before returning home for a second goal against Chicago on May 24 ... on May 31 in Toronto, Finlay added an assist on Justin Meram’s tally to open the scoring before scoring on June 4 ... the Crew was held scoreless in the 0-0 draw on June 7 and Finlay missed action on June 29 after recovering from an appendectomy ... he returned with the team’s lone goal in the 1-1 draw at Colorado on July 4 ... Finlay also assisted Adam Bedell’s goal in the July 12 match at New York and added the game-winning goal on July 26 at New England.
CHANCE TO AVENGE LAMAR HUNT U.S. OPEN CUP LOSS
The Black & Gold defeated the Fire on May 24 in the last League meeting between the two sides, but the Crew was eliminated from the 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in the Fifth Round by the Chicago Fire after a thrilling 4-2 match that required 120 minutes of action on June 25 at Toyota Park ... the Fire went ahead 1-0 in the first half through a Patrick Ianni goal, who scored off of a free kick from Harry Shipp ... after halftime, the Crew subbed Jairo Arrieta into the match, who leveled the contest with a stunning bicycle kick in the 55th minute ... 15 minutes later, Bernardo Anor put the Crew ahead 2-1, but Chicago leveled once more in the 83rd minute through Juan Luis Anangono ... with the match deadlocked at 2-2 after 90 minutes, extra-time was required. Chicago found a pair of goals in the 92nd and 108th minutes to seal the victory ... in the 92nd minute, Quincy Amarikwa scored after a series of crosses by Chicago, a tally that would hold-up as the match-winner ... Anangono added an insur- ance goal in the 108th minute to seal the victory for the home side.
TRYING TO TURN THE HEAT UP AGAINST THE FIRE
The Crew has recorded back-to-back wins against the Fire in the regular-season dating back to 2013 as the Black & Gold look to turn the tides against the Fire ... the team’s 3-0 win against Chicago in September 2013 snapped a four-match losing streak against the Fire ... Chicago has had the Crew’s number in six of the last nine overall regular-season meetings (6-3-0) and the Crew must now travel to Toyota Park after playing the last three regular-season contests at Crew Stadium.
LOTS OF ONE-GOAL GAMES CREW-FIRE TILTS OF LATE
Seven of the last nine regular-season meetings between the longtime rivals have resulted in one-goal matches, providing plenty of drama in regular-season play ... Chi- cago is 6-3-0 in the current span, with the Black & Gold securing a 2-1 win on May 26, 2012 at Crew Stadium ... perhaps a new trend is on the rise, as the the two matches with multiple-goal margin in the last nine meetings were a 3-0 win on September 21, 2013 in Columbus and the most recent meeting: a 2-0 Crew win at Crew Stadium on May 24.
QUITE THE 10-MATCH CLIP
With his game-winning goal on Saturday in New England, Ethan Finlay has scored a goal or an assist in seven of the last 10 League matches he’s played in dating back to May 17 at Portland ... Finlay scored his first career tally in Oregon before returning home for a second goal against Chicago on May 24 ... on May 31 in Toronto, Finlay added an assist on Justin Meram’s tally to open the scoring before scoring on June 4 ... the Crew was held scoreless in the 0-0 draw on June 7 and Finlay missed action on June 29 after recovering from an appendectomy ... he returned with the team’s lone goal in the 1-1 draw at Colorado on July 4 ... Finlay also assisted Adam Bedell’s goal in the July 12 match at New York.