PLENTY OF ONE-GOAL GAMES IN THE SERIES
The last five meetings between the Crew and Toronto FC have resulted in one-goal affairs ... the Crew is 4-1-0 in those matches and has shut-out Toronto twice in those matches ... the contests have been close, though, as the Crew has scored two goals twice in those four matches and have been held to single goals three additional times.
LOOKING FOR BACK-TO-BACK WINS
The Black & Gold will try to accomplish something they haven’t been able to do all season -- capture back-to-back victories ... although the club won the last match of the 2012 season and the first tilt of 2013, the last time the team won back-to-back contests was last season on August 29, (2-1 win) at Philadelphia and September 1, (2-1 win) against Montreal.
Federico Higuain scored two goals against New York on August 10, as the Designated Player recorded his third career brace and first since October 28, 2012 at Toronto in the 2012 season finale ... Higuain’s sixth and seventh goals this season pull the Argentine closer to the team lead for goals this year, trailing only Dominic Oduro (nine goals).
... AND THE CAPTAIN IS MONEY FROM THE SPOT
With his penalty kick goal on Saturday against New York, Federico Higuain is now 5-for-7 from the spot this year ... his five converted goals ties a single-season club record, tying Guillermo Barros Schelotto (2010, 5) and Andres Mendoza (2011, 5) ... Higuain is now third on the club’s all-time list for career penalty kick goals with six overall (five in 2013), trailing Schelotto (13), Brian McBride (11) and Jeff Cunning- ham (8) ... Higuain also set a new single-season career high in goals with seven now through 23 matches ... he scored five goals in just 13 appearances in 2012 after joining the Black & Gold halfway through the campaign.
DOWN TO TWO CLUBS THAT ARE NOT SEEING RED...
Through the first 23 matches this season, the Black & Gold have benefitted from smart soccer and a shortage of send-offs ... in fact, the Crew is one of two remaining teams in MLS this year -- joining D.C. United -- that have not been issued a red card ... last season through 23 matches, the Crew was issued just one red card: a Cole Grossman straight red in the 19th match of the season at Sporting KC on July 28, 2012.
... AND CHASING A RED CARD FAMINE RECORD
If the Crew can continue to avoid an ejection, the club could be on its way to matching a club record for fewest red cards in a season ... the record of zero ejections -- set in a 32-match season in 1999 -- has been relatively untouched in the years since ... the closest the team has come to matching the record were four seasons with two red cards (2000, 2003, 2004, 2012) ... on the flip-side of the ejection argument, the club record for most red cards in one season -- seven in 2009 -- for now seems to be safe for another campaign.
With a 1-0 Crew win on May 18 followed by a 2-1 Toronto win on July 27, the regular-season series enters Saturday split 1-1-0 ... the team awarded the Trillium Cup presented by Scotts will be the team with the greatest number of points (3 points for a win, 1 point for a tie, 0 points for a loss) after the conclusion of the regular season series between the two clubs ... in the event that two teams finish the season series with an equal number of points, the following system will be used to break the tie:
- The team with the greater goal difference (goals-for minus goals-against) in Trillium Cup matches shall be the winner. [Entering Saturday: Crew: 2GF-2GA=0, TFC: 2GF-2GA=0].
- If still tied, it shall be the team scoring the greater number of total goals in Trillium Cup matches [Entering Saturday: Crew: 2GF=2, TFC: 2GF=2].
- If still tied, the procedures described in 1 and 2 shall be applied only to a per-game average of all Trillium Cup games played on the road [Entering Saturday: Crew: 2 road goals, GPG= 1.00, TFC: N/A].
- If still tied, the procedures described in 1 and 2 shall be applied only to a per-game average of all Trillium Cup games played at home [Entering Saturday: Crew: N/A, TFC, 2 home goals, GPG= 1.00].
- If still tied, it shall be the team with the fewest combined team disciplinary points in Trillium Cup matches [Entering Saturday: Crew: 4 yellows, TFC: 4 yellows].
- If still tied, the team that is currently in possession of the Trillium Cup from the previous year retains it for another season [Entering Saturday: Crew].
WHAT IT ALL MEANS
A win captures the Trillium Cup presented by Scotts for either team ... that said, should the match end in a draw, fans should look at the final scoreline to determine which club gets the trophy ... if the match ends in a 0-0 draw, then technically tie-breaker scenario three states that the per-game goal-scoring average on the road is applied, and the Crew’s 1.00 per/game average would top the one match of zero goals on the road for the Reds, giving the Crew the trophy ... a 1-1 draw would bring TFC’s road goal average back to a level playing field, meaning tie-breaker four (home goals per game average) would be applied, however, the Crew’s one home goal in this scenario would match Toronto’s 1.00 home goals per game average (zero on May 18, two on July 27), forcing tie-breaker five -- which is disciplinary points ... both teams enter Saturday with four cautions a piece in the current series
WHAT ABOUT A 2-2 or 3-3 DRAW?
While a 0-0 draw gives the Crew the regular-season victory on technicalities and 1-1 draw would send the tie-breaker down the line of scenarios [potentially leading to a look at disciplinary points], should Saturday bring a barnburner draw to Crew Stadium, a 2-2 draw or a 3-3 draw would actually work against the Crew in its quest to retain the Trillum Cup in Columbus for another year ... two or three road goals for Toronto would then become their road goals average, giving them the advantage in tie-breaker three scenario of goals per game on the road.
Saturday’s victory over New York was Head Coach Robert Warzycha’s 69th career regular-season win as Crew boss. Warzycha’s next victory will be his 70th regular-season win, an important coaching milestone in MLS. Only 13 other coaches since 1996 have recorded 70 regular-season wins in their coaching career, and only four active coaches in the League have 70 or more wins (Sigi Schmid, 182; Bruce Arena, 154; Dominic Kinnear, 123; and Jason Kreis, 86). A 70th win for Warzycha would also tie the coach with Tom Fitzgerald (1996-2001) for most wins as a Head Coach of the Black & Gold as Fiztgerald won 70 games in 144 contests as the man on the sideline.
DOM’S STILL ON PACE
Dominic Oduro has scored eight times through 20 matches this year and is still on-pace to top his career-high 12 goals that he set back in 2011 ... the Crew’s forward -- if he keeps the current pace of 0.40 goals per game -- he could score 13 goals this season.
MARSHALL-O’ROURKE PAIRING STEADY AT CENTERBACK
After making 13 appearances -- including 12 starts -- at central midfield, Danny O’Rourke made his first start at centerback on July 4 alongside Chad Marshall and the two have paired together in the last three matches (and one international friendly) ... the centerback pairing of O’Rourke and Marshall -- who were paired together when the club won MLS Cup in 2008 -- became the fifth centerback pairing Head Coach Robert Warzycha has used in 2013, joining: Marshall/Glauber, Gehrig/Glauber, Gehrig/George and Marshall/Williams.
Jairo Arrieta returned to the Crew following the conclusion of Costa Rica’s run in the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup ... Arrieta joined Costa Rica following the Crew’s 3-2 defeat to Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, June 29 – a match in which Arrieta scored his second MLS tally of the season ... Arrieta scored one goal in three starts in group play, tallying in the 3-0 win against Cuba (July 9) and started in the knockout-round match against Honduras on July 21 ... in 2013, has made 11 international appearances -- including nine starts -- and has scored four goals ... in 2013 for the Crew, Arrieta has recorded two goals and two assists in 12 appearances, including nine starts.
AN IMPORTANT TWO-MATCH ROAD SWING
After closing-out a two match homestand in the third and fourth weekends of June, the Black & Gold begin an important two-match road swing: at Sporting KC (June 29) and at LA (July 4) ... following Saturday’s match, the team will travel to LA on Sunday and train in the City of Angels ahead of the Independence Day clash on Thursday ... the seven-day trip will test the team’s road record of 3-3-2.
A TRIP TO SPORTING PARK...
The Crew travels to Sporting KC’s beautiful home, Sporting Park, for the club’s third- ever visit ... the Crew fell 2-1 in the team’s first visit on September 28, 2011 before securing a full three points in the Black & Gold’s only visit last year on July 28 -- a 2-1 win for the visiting Crew ... from 1996-2007, the Crew was 5-9-2 at the longtime home of the Kansas City club before posting an unbeaten (3-0-0) record at Community- America Ballpark from 2008 through 2010 before Sporting’s new venue opened.
TOP GOAL-SCORERS BATTLE FOURTH STRAIGHT MATCH
For the fourth straight week, the Crew and its opponent will battle in a match featur- ing two of the top five goal scorers in MLS in 2013 ... Dominic Oduro added his seventh goal of the season on Saturday, June 15 against Montreal and remained in the elite list of MLS goal-scorers in 2013 ... Oduro is tied with Sporting KC’s Claudio Bieler for fifth in MLS behind Camilo Sanvezzo and co-Budweiser Golden Boot leaders, Jack McInerney, Mike Magee and Marco Di Vaio (10 goals) ... Oduro has converted on the fewest amounts of shots on goal -- demonstrating that when the opportunity strikes, so does the Ghanaian striker.
SANCHEZ UNAVAILABLE ON SATURDAY; MIDFIELD COMPETITION...
Matías Sánchez will miss Saturday’s match as the Argentine serves a mandatory one- game suspension for yellow-card accumulation after picking-up his fifth caution last Saturday against Chicago ... other midfielders that have seen action this year include- Kevan George, Tony Tchani, Agustín Viana and Konrad Warzycha.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE BATTLE OF CORNER KICK LEADERS
Saturday’s contest also features the League’s top two corner kick leaders thus far in 2013 as Federico Higuain (71) faces Graham Zusi (70) of Sporting KC ... the Crew only had three corner kicks in last Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Chicago, but Higuain took all three for the club ... Zusi took all four of Sporting’s corner kicks in the 2-2 draw against FC Dallas last weekend, leaving the midfielder just one behind the Crew play- maker entering this weekend.
IT FEELS LIKE JUST LAST THURSDAY
Following the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Fourth Round affair on June 13 , the Crew and the Fire meet for the second time this season in regular-season play when the Fire comes to Columbus ... the match -- just nine days after the U.S. Open Cup contest -- is the first of two trips for the Fire to Crew Stadium, as the Black & Gold host Chicago on June 22 (8:00 p.m. ET / FOX Sports Ohio) before welcoming The Fire again on Saturday, September 21.
WHERE WE LEFT OFF
The Columbus Crew suffered a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park on June 13 in the Fourth Round of the 100th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Konrad Warzycha gave the Black & Gold the early lead in the 22nd-minute on a header off of a Ben Speas free kick. Chicago’s Mike Magee answered just six minutes later on a pass from Gonzalo Segares. The Fire would take the lead for good in the 78th-minute on Patrick Nyarko’s goal from Chris Rolfe in the fourth-ever meeting between the two clubs in the tournament named after the Crew’s founder, dating back to 1998.
SEEING BOTH SIDES OF THE RIVALRY...
Since 1998, 16 players have suited-up for both the Crew and the Fire in their careers ... the list includes: Brian McBride, Ante Razov, Jon Busch, Dominic Oduro, Dilly Duka, Matt Chulis, Leonard Griffin, Andy Herron, Richie Kotschau, Manny Lagos, Brian Plotkin (never played for Crew but was rostered), Tony Sanneh, Tim Ward, Andy Williams and John Wolyniec.
... ODURO’S HOUSEWARMING PARTY ON SATURDAY
On Saturday, Crew forward Dominic Oduro gets a chance to host the team that traded him to the Black & Gold in February ... Oduro scored 18 goals in 66 matches for the Fire in 2011 and 2012 ... while with the Fire, he recorded one goal in five appearances against the Crew ... the 27-year-old also made five appearances and recorded one assist against the Crew while a member of FC Dallas (2006-2008) and made two appear- ances against Columbus while with Houston from 2009-2010.
SPEAKING OF DOM AT HOME
Dominic Oduro’s next match at Crew Stadium will be his 15th contest in the house of the Black & Gold ... his statistical numbers indicate that he much prefers suiting-up in the Crew dressing room ... in his first seven matches at Crew Stadium from 2006- 20012 (all as a visiting player) Oduro recorded a single assist ... last Saturday against Montreal was Oduro’s seventh home match at Crew Stadium this year while in a Crew jersey -- a match in which he added a goal and an assist -- giving him three goals and one assist in seven home matches in 2013.
CREW AND YOUNG BARSON GET SOME LOVE FROM NATIONAL PUNDITS
Soccer By Ives named the Columbus Crew its “MLS Team of the Week” following its 2-0 victory over the Montreal Impact on Saturday ... Soccer By Ives also named Black & Gold defender Chad Barson its “MLS Rookie of the Week” ... with injuries plaguing the Crew backline, Barson, “stepped up to the task, playing 90 minutes and effectively shutting-out Justin Mapp and Marco Di Vaio.”
ONE-GOAL GAMES ARE BECOMING A THEME IN CREW-FIRE TILTS
The previous six meetings between the longtime rivals have resulted in one-goal matches, providing plenty of drama in regular-season play ... Chicago is 5-1-0 in the current span, with the Black & Gold securting a 2-1 win on May 26, 2012 at Crew Stadium ... the teams played to a 1-0 finish in Chicago when the two clubs last met on April 20 ... should the match remain close again this weekend, both teams will look to secure points in another crucial one-goal game situation as Chicago is 2-4-0 while Columbus is 2-3-0 in those tightly-contested situations.
NOT ALLOWING MUCH FROM THE FIRE
Chicago may have the Crew’s number in the last six overall meetings (5-1-0) but the Black & Gold have been solid at home against their rivals, securing points in four of the last five meetings at Crew Stadium (2-1-2) dating back to 2008 ... in those five meetings, Chicago has only scored two goals twice -- in the first two meetings of the five-match clip -- and the Fire has been held to one goal in each of the previous three meetings at Crew Stadium dating back to 2010.
CREW UNBEATEN IN LAST THREE
The Crew enters Wednesday’s match at Philadelphia riding a modest three-match unbeaten streak (1-0-2) dating back to May 18 at Toronto ... a win at Toronto followed by the pair of draws has allowed for crucial Eastern Conference points as the Black & Gold play their next four matches against foes within their conference.
BUSY STRETCH CONTINUES
The Crew completes a stretch of four matches in 11 days when the Black & Gold travel to Philadelphia to take on the Union on Wednesday ... previously in this stretch, the Crew is unbeaten (0-0-2) in two MLS matches and also secured a Third Round victory over the Dayton Dutch Lions in U.S. Open Cup action ... the 11-day test began with the 2-2 draw on May 26 at New York before the May 29 Open Cup clash ... back in action after a 1-1 draw against Houston on June 1, Wednesday’s meeting at Philadelphia is followed by rest for the team ahead with bye weekend on June 8.
ALL EYES ON US...
The Crew and Union will have all eyes of Major League Soccer on the two clubs as Wednesday’s match is the only mid-week contest scheduled in League play ... this is the Crew’s first mid-week match in 2013 League play, but it is the second straight week of Wednesday action following the 2-1 win against the Dayton Dutch Lions on May 29 in U.S. Open Cup play ... the Black & Gold will get set for another mid-week match on Thursday, July 4 when the team travels to face the LA Galaxy, but the next Wednesday match for Columbus is not until Wednesday, September 4 against Houston at Crew Stadium.
PLENTY OF BROTHERLY LOVE FOR UNION MATCHES
The Crew plays its second and final match in the regular-season series against Philadelphia, looking to build off of its three-game unbeaten streak (2-0-1) against the Union dating back to 2012 ... the Crew defeated the Union 2-1 in its first-ever trip to PPL Park on August 5, 2010 and after the Union shut-out the Crew 1-0 in an April 14, 2012 clash back at PPL Park, the Crew responded with the beginning of the three-game unbeaten streak with a 2-1 win over the home side Union on August 29, 2012.
ANOTHER ROAD TEST FOR CREW...
The Crew returns to the road for Wednesday’s match at Philadelphia before a pair of home matches on June 15 (against Montreal) and June 22 (against Chicago) ... on the road this season, the Black & Gold have secured points in five of their first seven matches (3-2-2) ... the Crew’s winning percentage of .571 on the road is currently tied with Sporting KC for third-best in MLS behind only Montreal (.583) and League- leading Portland (.643).
... AND ANDY’S ONE OF THE BEST ON THE ROAD
Andy Gruenebaum has been the Crew’s starting ‘keeper in the first 13 matches of 2013 ... the Crew has seen success on the road (3-2-2) with plenty of thanks to Gruenebaum’s road performances in the first seven tilts away from Crew Stadium ... of the nine MLS goalkeepers in 2013 that have started at least seven road contests, Gruenebaum’s 1.00 road goals against average is second in the League behind only KC’s Jimmy Nielsen (0.86 GAA, 7 games played) ... two of Gruenebaum’s three shutouts this season have been on the road.
BUSY STRETCH CONTINUES
Following the May 26 test against New York and Wednesday’s U.S. Open Cup clash, the Crew continues a stretch of four matches in 11 days as the club resumes MLS action at Crew Stadium when the Black & Gold host the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, June 1 (7:30 p.m. ET / FOX Sports Ohio) ... that stretch continues through June 5 when the Black & Gold travel to Philadelphia to face the Union before a bye weekend on June 8.
HOUSTON, WE HAVE VERY FEW PROBLEMS
The Crew resumes MLS action this weekend with an Eastern Conference test from the visiting Houston Dynamo ... the Crew has had Houston’s number since 2009 as the Black & Gold are unbeaten (3-0-5) in their last eight contests against the Dynamo ... the last three matches between the two clubs dating back to 2011 have resulted in a draw ... the Crew is unbeaten (3-0-2) in five previous meetings against the Dynamo in Columbus dating back to April 26, 2008.
GLAUBER AND ARRIETA AVAILABLE...
Crew centerback Glauber is available on Saturday after serving a mandatory one- match suspension following his fifth caution of the season that he picked-up on May 18 in Toronto ... Glauber made the start on Wednesday in U.S. Open Cup action ... following an MLS Disciplinary Committee suspension of two matches, Crew striker Jairo Arrieta is also available for selection, as the Costa Rican was away on National Team duty earlier this week and missed the 2-1 win against the Dayton Dutch Lions.
... AND JAIRO FOUND A SCORING TOUCH WITH COSTA RICA
Jairo Arrieta has missed the last two League matches while serving a two-game suspension handed down by the MLS Disciplinary Committee, but the Crew forward remained sharp during his international call-up for Costa Rica against Canada in a friendly in Edmonton on Tuesday ... Arrieta converted a 16th-minute penalty kick to give the Ticos a 1-0 win ... Tuesday’s match was Arrieta’s 10th cap with Costa Rica and third goal after scoring twice during the 2013 Copa Centroamericana.
ODURO GETS HIS SIXTH
The Crew was held scoreless in the first two matches of the month but Dominic Oduro still managed to score in the final two May contests to lead the Black & Gold in scoring with two strikes on the month ... his game-winning goal at Toronto on May 18 was followed by his second-minute goal against the Eastern Conference-leading Red Bulls on May 26, accounting for 66% of the team’s scoring on the month ... Oduro has scored in each month of the season in his first year with the Crew ... the Crew remains unbeaten (3-0-3) in 2013 when Oduro finds the back of the net.
FIRST GOAL IS KEY FOR CREW
The Crew struck first on May 26 at New York and managed to secure a point on the road ... it was the sixth time this season the Black & Gold have gotten on the scoreboard first and in those matches, Columbus is 4-0-2 ... the Crew went 10-4-2 last season when scoring the first goal and went 5-8-3 in 2012 when the club’s opponent got on the board first .
OPENING AND CLOSING THE MONTH OF MAY WITH NEW YORK
The Crew completes the month of May with a trip to Red Bull Arena for the second meeting between Columbus and New York in the month of May ... the Crew is 1-2-0 in three matches this month and picked up a 1-0 win at Toronto last Saturday to snap a two-game losing streak that began with the visit from the Red Bulls on May 4 ... New York joins New England as the only other MLS team that the Crew faces twice in the same calendar month this season, as the Black & Gold square-off with the Revs on October 19 in Foxborough before closing-out the regular season on October 27 at Crew Stadium.
EARLY OFFENSIVE SUCCESS AT RED BULL ARENA
Sunday’s clash is the Crew’s fourth overall trip to Red Bull Arena since its opening in 2010 ... the Black & Gold have secured points in two of the previous three meetings and hold a 1-1-1 overall record in the Harrison, NJ venue ... in three previous trips there, the Crew has scored five goals and recorded four assists and has averaged 13.33 shots per game.
ANDY WITH ANOTHER CLEAN SHEET...
Andy Gruenebaum recorded his third shutout this season last Saturday in the 1-0 win at Toronto ... holding the Reds scoreless pushed Gruenebaum’s season goals against average back under a goal per game (0.91) giving him his first clean sheet since the 3-0 win against D.C. on April 27 ... last season, in 33 starts, Gruenebaum recorded a career-high eight shutouts ... his most recent effort was his 16th career shutout.
... AND STINGY BACKLINE LEADS CREW TO TOP 5 DEFENSIVE MARKS
With the team’s third shutout of the season last weekend in Toronto, the Black & Gold now rank fifth in MLS for goals against average as a team (0.91) ... the Crew trails Seattle (0.90), Colorado (0.83), New England (0.82) and League-leader Kansas City (0.77) ... Colorado’s two goals against the Crew on May 11 at Crew Stadium was the just the second time this season that the Crew allowed two goals in a game, and the first time since March 9 at Vancouver.
THE TCHANI-SANCHEZ DUO
Tony Tchani has made four consecutive starts in central midfield for the Black & Gold ... joining him last Saturday in Toronto for the second straight match was central mid- fielder Matias Sanchez ... the Tchani-Sanchez duo is the third central midfield pairing Head Coach Robert Warzycha has used in 2013 ... the primary duo of Agustin Viana and Danny O’Rourke started the first seven matches of 2013 while Tchani has made four straight starts with Viana out with a hamstring injury ... Sanchez made his start- ing lineup debut against Coloraod on May 11 with O’Rourke nursing an ankle injury.
EDDIE GAVEN: THE CREW’S MOST-FOULED PLAYER, EVER
Eddie Gaven suffered five fouls in last Saturday’s 1-0 win at Toronto and with 412 fouls suffered in a Crew uniform in 208 games played for the Black & Gold, Gaven became the most-fouled Crew player in club history, passing Brian McBride (407 fouls suffered, 161 games played), whom Gaven entered the match tied with.
FRESH FACES ON THE FIELD
Three Crew players made their 2013 debuts last Saturday in Toronto while one
player -- Justin Meram -- made his first start of the season after securing previous appearances this year ... Homegrown Player Chad Barson made his MLS debut at leftback when he checked in for Tyson Wahl in the 84th minute ... Aaron Schoenfeld also made his first appearance of the season – his first since July 8, 2012 – when he checked in for Dominic Oduro at forward in the 85th-minute ... joining Meram in the starting lineup was Eric Gehrig, who made his first start and appearance of 2013.
BLACK & GOLD LOVE BMO FIELD
The Crew is 2-0-5 in its first seven visits to BMO Field in Toronto dating back to 2007 ... although the Black & Gold have only won twice there, the venue has quickly be- come the destination for the fewest Crew blemishes (losses) on the road ... of all MLS venues past and present in which the Crew has played a minimum of five matches, BMO Field is the only stadium in which the Crew is unbeaten ... other venues in
Columbus Crew record: 8-1-7 Home games: 6-1-2 (18 GF, 11 GA) Road games: 2-0-5 (8 GF, 6 GA)
CREW TO TAKE ON TFC, DUNCAN OUGHTON
Saturday’s match at BMO Field is the first of three regular-season meetings between the two teams in their quest for the Trillum Cup ... the Crew swept Toronto by going 3-0-0 against TFC in 2012 ... this is the 17th regular-season meeting in the all-time season series between the two teams dating back to 2007 ... Columbus holds an 8-1-7 overall advantage .... the Crew is unbeaten (2-0-5) at BMO Field against the Reds ... this will also be Duncan Oughton’s first match as a member of the TFC coaching staff since departing the Black & Gold last week.
Federico Higuain recorded a brace with goals on either side of halftime as the Crew finished the 2012 campaign on October 28 with a 2-1 win against Toronto at Crew Stadium ... with his 62nd-minute penalty kick, Higuain finished the 2012 campaign with five goals and seven assists in just 13 matches with the Crew after joining the Black & Gold mid-season.
CREW HELD SCORELESS, BUT NOT TIME TO PANIC...
After scoring three goals in the first half of the April 27 match against D.C., the Black & Gold have not scored a goal in the two and a half matches since the 2-0 shutout loss to Colorado last Saturday ... the 225-minute scoreless streak is the 10th-longest in MLS this season ... as a point of comparison, three teams with winning records in 2013 -- New York (309 minutes) LA (253 minutes) and Montreal (234 minutes) have all witnessed scoring droughts at some point this season longer than the Crew’s current stretch.
... AND GOAL RELIEF COULD BE ON THE WAY SATURDAY
The Crew enters Saturday with a 225-minute scoreless streak but the Black & Gold have history on their side with an upcoming tilt at BMO Field ... in seven previous meetings at BMO Field, the Crew has scored in every match, totalling eight goals and five assists as a team.
A NEW CENTRAL MIDFIELD DUO
Tony Tchani has made three consecutive starts in the central midfield for the Black & Gold ... joining him last Saturday against Colorado was central midfielder Matias Sanchez, who made his first MLS start after making four appearances in the first nine mathces of 2013 ... The Tchani-Sanchez duo is the third central midfield pairing Head Coach Robert Warzycha has used in 2013 ... the primary duo of Agustin Viana and Danny O’Rourke started the first seven matches of 2013 while Tchani has made three straight starts with Viana out with a hamstring injury ... Sanchez made his starting lineup debut with O’Rourke nursing an ankle injury last weekend.
GAVEN SUFFERING PLENTY OF FOULS...
Eddie Gaven suffered three fouls last Saturday against Colorado ... Gaven is the second-most fouled player in MLS this year and has been fouled 27 times in eight matches, trailing only FC Dallas’ David Ferreira who has been fouled 35 times in 10 games played ... Gaven has been fouled five times in a match three times this season including the May 4 contest against New York -- adding to identical amounts from the March 2 match at Chivas USA and the April 20 clash at Chicago.
... AND GAVEN’S ABOUT TO BECOME THE MOST-FOULED CREW PLAYER
With 407 fouls suffered in a Crew uniform in 207 games played for the Black & Gold, Eddie Gaven is one foul suffered away from becoming the most-fouled Crew player in club history ... Gaven enters Saturday tied with Brian McBride (407 fouls suffered, 161 games played) ... the Crew midfielder is the only active member on the club’s all-time list for fouls suffered.