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Saturday’s match marks the Crew’s fifth contest of May and just the second this month at Crew Stadium ... the team snapped a three-match losing streak last Saturday at Portland with a 3-3 draw ... the Black & Gold have a final road match of May at Toronto FC on May 31.
FINDING THE BACK OF THE NET
After being held scoreless for three matches to open the month, the Crew responded with a trio of tallies last Saturday in Portland ... it was the club’s second three-goal performance of the season ... the Black & Gold have secured points in both three-goal matches thus far in 2014 after a 3-0 win to open the year at D.C. United.
STARTING A NEW STREAK AGAINST THE FIRE
The Crew’s 3-0 win against Chicago when the two teams last met on September 2013 snapped a four-match losing streak against the Fire ... although Chicago has had the Crew’s number in six of the last eight overall regular-season meetings (6-2-0), the Black & Gold have been solid at home against their rivals, securing points in five of the last seven meetings at Crew Stadium (3-2-2) dating back to 2008 ... Chicago has been held to one goal or fewer in four of the last five meetings at Crew Stadium dating back to 2010.
LOTS OF ONE-GOAL GAMES CREW-FIRE TILTS OF LATE
Seven of the last eight regular-season meetings between the longtime rivals have resulted in one-goal matches, providing plenty of drama in regular-season play ... Chicago is 6-2-0 in the current span, with the Black & Gold securting a 2-1 win on May 26, 2012 at Crew Stadium and the lone multiple-goal margin, a 3-0 win when the teams last met on September 21, 2013 in Columbus.
BACK ON THE ROAD
Saturday’s match marks the Crew’s fourth match of May and third away from Crew Stadium ... the team is looking to snap a three-match losing streak and return to winning ways on the road ... the Crew is 2-2-1 in road tilts in 2014 and is unbeaten (1-0-1) when leading at halftime of those matches ... the Black & Gold return home for a May 24 clash against Chicago before a final road match of May at Toronto FC on May 31.
GREAT HONOR FOR THE CREW ...
The Columbus Crew announced on Monday that three players have been named to 30-man preliminary rosters ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, including club captain Michael Parkhurst (United States Men’s National Team) as well as defenders Giancarlo Gonzalez and Waylon Francis (Costa Rican National Team) ... forward Jairo Arrieta has also been named as an alternate for Costa Rica’s provisional roster ... “We are proud of our players as they prepare to represent the Columbus Crew in their respective National Team camps,” said Crew Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. “The possibility of representing your nation in the FIFA World Cup is our sport’s highest honor, and we’re thrilled for our players that now have this opportunity. We wish them every success ahead of this summer’s tournament.”
... BUT LINEUP CHANGES REQUIRED FOLLOWING DEPARTURES
Michael Parkhurst (United States) and Waylon Francis (Costa Rica) have departed for National Team camp for their respective countries, with Giancarlo Gonzalez (Costa Rica) set to leave after this weekend’s match ... therefore, Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter has two spots to fill on the backline this weekend.
ADDITIONAL REINFORCEMENTS AVAILABLE
Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter has several options to replace Waylon Francis and Michael Parkhurst on the backline this weekend ... in addition to veteran depth, the Crew recalled Kevan George and Ben Sweat from loan at USL-PRO affiliate Dayton Dutch Lions ... Sweat was on a game-by-game loan and started two matches while George had been with Dayton since March, earning significant playing experience.
Matching his season-high for corner kicks with eight on Wednesday in Houston, Federico Higuain recorded his 200th corner as a member of the Crew. Currently at 203 in 51 career games played, Higuain became just the third player in Crew history to record 200 or more corner kicks. Robert Warzycha is the club’s all-time leader with 503 and Guillermo Barros Schelotto is in second with 423. Both players are finalists for the Crew’s 2014 Circle of Honor Induction. Higuain recorded eight corner kicks in a match earlier this season on March 29 at Seattle.
Saturday’s match-up is the first meeting for first-year MLS coaches Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter and Vancouver Head Coach Carl Robinson. As players, Berhalter -- who played for LA from 2009-2011 -- was an MLS opponent of Robinson, who spent 2009-2011 between Toronto FC (2009) and New York (2010-11).
The Crew has played Vancouver just four times in the regular-season since Whitecaps FC joined MLS ahead of the 2011 campaign. Now playing just once a year, the Crew gets its only look at Vancouver for the season on Saturday. Hector Jimenez -- who previously played for Western Conference side LA Galaxy -- has plenty of experience against Vancouver. In fact, Jimenez has six appearances against Whitecaps FC, two more matches than the Crew has ever played against the Canadian side.
COMPLETING THE BUSY STRETCH
Saturday’s match completes a stretch of three matches in seven days as the Black & Gold look to snap a two-match losing streak ... after a pair of road matches, the Crew looks to enjoy the home-crowd advantage at Crew Stadium ... the last time the Crew was home -- a 1-1 draw against New York on April 26 -- a season-high attendance of 18,026 fans was recorded.
SECURING POINTS AT HOME
The Crew returns home for the first of only two home tilts at Crew Stadium this month ... thus far in 2014, the Black & Gold have secured points in three of their first four home contests ... the team’s lone home defeat came more than a month ago in a 1-0 loss to Toronto FC and the team responded with points in its next two matches -- a pair of 1-1 draws on April 19 (against D.C.) and April 26 (against New York).
IT’S BEEN AWHILE, VANCOUVER
The Crew and Whitecaps FC meet for their lone opposite-conference meeting of the season on Saturday at Crew Stadium ... the last time the two teams last played was way back in the Crew’s second match of 2013 on March 9, 2013 ... to give a bit of perspective, since the two teams played at BC Place -- a total of 41 regular-season matches ago -- the Crew has played several teams four times ... specifically, the Black & Gold have faced Eastern Conference opponents Sporting KC, Houston and New York four times since the Crew and Vancouver last met.
TRAPP AVAILABLE SATURDAY
Vice Captain Wil Trapp is available for selection on Saturday after missing his first match of 2014 ... Trapp was absent from the lineup on Wednesday while he served a mandatory one-match red-card suspension ... Trapp was issued a pair of yellow cards in last Sunday’s match at Sporting KC ... Trapp had previously started every game since his debut on July 7, 2013.
THE ROAD TRIP CONTINUES
Wednesday’s match marks the second of three games in a stretch of three tilts in seven days ... the contest also marks the first time in 2014 that the team is playing back-to-back road matches in the club’s extended road trip, traveling directly from Kansas City to Houston before coming home ... including Wednesday’s clash against the Dynamo, the Crew has three more road matches in the month of May ... the team has consecutive away matches scheduled in July (July 4 at Colorado and July 12 at New York) before a trio of consecutive road matches in October (at New England on October 4; at Philadelphia on October 11; and at New York on October 19).
A QUICK TURNAROUND AND A FOCUS SHIFT TO HOUSTON
Following Sunday’s match, Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter was quick to note the team’s rapid turnaround and shift of focus ahead of Wednesday’s road tilt ... said Berhalter, “We need to get guys recovered from this game. Obviously it’s been warm, so we have to recover and get prepared for the next game. We’re going to focus, right from the beginning, on playing our game. That’s our focus. We want our guys to look at this game and see what they could have done better. We’ll give them feedback about what they could have done better and we’re going to move forward.”
BEGINNING A NEW STREAK ...
Sunday’s 2-0 defeat at Sporting KC marked just the second loss for the Crew in 2014 ... the last time the Crew lost -- on April 5 against Toronto -- the team rebounded with a trio of draws as the Crew went unbeaten from April 13-26 ... already this year, the team has gone on a pair of three-match unbeaten streaks, with additional wins in three Match tilts to open the year.
... AND BUILDING OFF A STREAK VERSUS HOUSTON
Last September’s Crew victory against Houston began a new streak against the Dynamo ... the Crew’s 3-1 loss at Houston on August 3, 2013 snapped a nine-match unbeaten streak (3-0-6) against the Dynamo, dating back to March 21, 2009 ... the Black & Gold defeated Houston 2-0 on June 18, 2011 in Houston, but the two teams have drawn four of the last six matches, including a 1-1 draw on June 1, 2013 at Crew Stadium.
Federico Higuain is also just five corner kicks shy of recording his 200th corner as a member of the Crew. Currently at 195 in 50 career games played, Higuain could become just the third player in Crew history to record 200 or more corner kicks. Robert Warzycha is the club’s all-time leader with 503 and Guillermo Barros Schelotto is in second with 423. Both players are finalists for the Crew’s 2014 Circle of Honor Induction. Higuain recorded eight corner kicks in a match earlier this season on March 29 at Seattle.
The Crew announced last week announced that Crew Juniors entered a partnership with the Centerville United Soccer Association (CUSA) in Dayton, Ohio. The affiliation is the most comprehensive Crew Youth partnership in the Crew’s history, as approximately 40 teams and 500 select players in the Greater Dayton area will now become the CUSA Crew Juniors and wear the club’s signature Black & Gold colors. CUSA is also set to send 40 teams to Crew Youth events throughout each year.
Federico Higuain recorded his 50th career appearance in MLS for the Crew on Sunday at Sporting KC. Higuain, who has played 50 matches -- starting 48 of them -- has scored 20 goals and 18 assists in his time in Columbus since arriving in August 2012. Five of his goals have been game-winners and six of his helpers secured a victory for the Black & Gold.
Federico Higuain’s next match is set to be his 50th career appearance in MLS for the Crew. Higuain, who enters the weekend with 49 appearances and 47 starts, has scored 20 goals and 18 assists in his time in Columbus since arriving in August 2012. Five of his goals have been game-winners and six of his helpers secured a victory for the Black & Gold.
Federico Higuain is also just eight corner kicks shy of recording his 200th corner as a member of the Crew. Currently at 192 in 50 career games played, Higuain could be- come just the third player in Crew history to record 200 or more corner kicks. Robert Warzycha is the club’s all-time leader with 503 and Guillermo Barros Schelotto is in second with 423. Both players are finalists for the Crew’s 2014 Circle of Honor Induction. Higuain recorded eight corner kicks in a match earlier this season on March 29 at Seattle.
Last Saturday’s 1-1 draw marked a couple of Crew milestones for a goal-scoring duo. The match was Dominic Oduro’s 40th appearance in a Crew jersey. The Ghanaian has scored 13 times for the Black & Gold. In his 50th career game for the Crew, Jairo Arrieta scored his 14th goal for the Black & Gold with a penalty kick strike. Both players have three career goals against Sporting KC as members of the Crew.
RIDING A THREE-MATCH UNBEATEN STREAK ...
The Crew enters Sunday’s match with a three-match unbeaten streak following a trio of 1-1 draws the last three weekends ... after scoring a first-half goal in San Jose before finishing 1-1 on April 13, the Crew earned a point with a 90th-minute goal in the 1-1 result against D.C. United at home on April 19 ... last weekend against New York, the Crew came away with a point in the 1-1 result at Crew Stadium.
... AND CREW HISTORICALLY STRONG AFTER THREE STRAIGHT DRAWS
The Black & Gold enter Sunday’s match following three straight draws dating back to April 13 at San Jose ... it marks just the fifth time in club history -- and first time since 2009 -- that the team has played to a trio of consecutive deadlocked matches ... the Crew is perfect (3-0-1) in the the match immediately following three straight draws ... a look at those matches is below:
- May 9, 2009 – vs. Kansas City, W, 3-2
- April 28, 2007 – vs. DC United, W, 1-0
- July 4, 2006 – at Houston, T, 1-1
- July 28, 2004 – vs. FC Dallas, W, 2-1
LOOKING TO REVERSE FORTUNES AT SPORTING PARK
The Crew is 1-3-0 in the team’s previous four trips to Sporting Park and the Black & Gold look to change that trend on Sunday ... the team’s lone win came in 2012 with Jairo Arrieta’s two goals in the first half on July 28 ... Arrieta added a third goal in the venue last year on June 29 in the wild, back-and-forth 3-2 loss.
STILL UNBEATEN ON THE ROAD
The Crew opens a two-match road swing with a test against Sporting KC on Sunday before a midweek clash at Houston ... the Black & Gold enter the weekend unbeaten (2-0-1) in their first three road matches of 2014 ... the team’s road winning percentage (.833) is second in MLS this year behind Seattle (3-0-1, .875 winning percentage) ... the best road start for the Black & Gold occured in 2010 when Crew went unbeaten in its first five road matches, posting a 2-0-3 mark away from Crew Stadium.
Hector Jimenez’s goal against D.C. on April 19 was the fifth of his career and first in a Crew jersey -- coming at the perfect time in the 90th minute of the match to secure a 1-1 draw. The goal also marked the fifth Crew player to score in 2014 as Jimenez, Justin Meram and Jairo Arrieta each have a goal. Those three players trail Bernardo Anor (two goals) and Federico Higuain (four goals) on the team’s leaderboard.
Thierry Henry did not record a shot in his last visit to Crew Stadium on May 4, 2013 (and did not play in the last meeting of 2013). Limiting his effectiveness is an obvious strategy as the Frenchman has only played two total matches at Crew Stadium. Henry’s only other match in Columbus was lethal for the Black & Gold, as Henry’s brace gave New York a 4-1 win at Crew Stadium on April 7, 2012.
The votes have been counted and the five finalists for the Crew’s Circle of Honor induction taking place on Saturday, September 27 are Mike Clark, Frankie Hejduk, Brian Maisonneuve, Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Robert Warzycha. Cast your vote at TheCrew.com before Friday, May 23. The celebration is Saturday, September 27 and the Circle of Honor presentation is presented by OhioHealth. The first 10,000 fans through the gates will receive a commemorative Circle of Honor Bobblehead of the inductee presented by OhioHealth.
RIDING A TWO-MATCH UNBEATEN STREAK ...
The Crew enters Saturday’s match with a two-match unbeaten streak following a pair of 1-1 draws the last two weekends ... after scoring a first-half goal in San Jose before finishing 1-1 on April 13, the Crew earned a point with a 90th-minute goal in the 1-1 result against D.C. United at home on April 19.
... AND LOOKING FOR SECOND TRIO OF UNBEATEN TILTS IN 2014
Should the Crew extend its unbeaten streak to three matches, it would mark the second time in 2014 that the team has been able to do so entering its seventh match on Saturday ... previously, the club opened the campaign with a historic 3-0-0 start with road wins at D.C. (March 8) and Seattle (March 29) book-ending a home-opener win against Philadelphia on March 22.
COMING OFF OF BACK-TO-BACK DRAWS
Last season, the Crew played to a pair of back-to-back draws throughout the year and struggled in the following match -- something the Black & Gold had not done in previous years ... in 2013, the Crew was 0-2-0 in the next match following consecutive draws but was 1-0-0 in 2012, 1-0-0 in 2011 and 2-1-1 in 2009 in games following a pair of deadlocked tilts.
BUILDING OFF A HOME DRAW
After a 1-1 result at Crew Stadium against D.C. last weekend, the Crew looks to build off of a point in its next home match ... in 2013, the Crew went 1-1-1 following a home draw, securing points in two of the next three matches that immediately followed three individual Crew Stadium draws.