Two of the last three matches between the Crew and the Union have featured a club setting an all-time record for its fastest three goals. On June 5, 2013, Philadelphia scored three times between the 25th minute and the 31st minute. Brian Carroll, Sheanon Williams and Conor Casey all tallied to fuel the Union to a 3-0 win. Two weekends ago, in the Crew’s first trip to PPL Park since that match, the Black & Gold notched three goals in four minutes to set their all-time club record. Ethan Finlay, Justin Meram and Jairo Arrieta’s tallies over the span from the 78th minute to the 82nd minute elevated the Crew to a 3-2 comeback victory.
The Crew’s three-goal outburst last weekend at Red Bull Arena marked the second consecutive three-goal performance on the road for the Crew, matching the effort on October 11 at Philadelphia. The Black & Gold hadn’t achieved back-to-back road efforts with three or more goals since June 14 and June 21, 2008 when the club scored three at Kansas City and at LA. Overall, the Crew has achieved this back-to-back feat five times in its history.
The last goal that the Crew has allowed at home came on August 16 versus LA, when Gyasi Zardes scored in the 49th minute, Since that goal, the Crew has not conceded at home over a span that included the remainder of the LA match and four additional fixtures. All-told, the Crew carries a 401 minute shutout streak at home into Sunday’s contest. This is the longest home shutout streak in club history. The longest overall shutout streak in Black & Gold history is 413 minutes, set in early 2011.
The Crew clinched its first MLS Cup Playoff berth since 2011 last weekend. All-told, the Black & Gold are headed to the Playoffs for the 12th time in club history. The Crew won MLS Cup in 2008, the first of four consecutive Playoff appearances. Playoff tickets are available at TheCrew.com.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Crew is returning home for the first time since September 27, when it defeated the Montreal Impact by a final score of 2-0 ... overall, the Black & Gold are 5-0-0 in their last five home clashes and 6-1-0 over their last seven ... the Crew has outscored its last five home opponents by an aggregate scoreline of 13-1 ... goalkeeper Steve Clark has kept a clean sheet in each of his last four home outings.
Ethan Finlay’s strike in the 34th minute against New York held up as the game-winner last Sunday ... the goal brought Finlay’s game-winning goals tally to five in 2014 ... the winger is now one of nine players to record at least five game-winning goals this season ... he joins New England’s Lee Nguyen, LA’s Gyasi Zardes, Seattle’s Clint Dempsey and Houston’s Will Bruin as the only Americans to accomplish the feat this season.
TCHANI EXTENDS ASSISTS MARK
Tony Tchani notched another assist against New York last weekend, taking his season total to six helpers ... that amount represents a new career-best for the Cameroonian in the category, exploding past the three assists he recorded in 2010 with the New York Red Bulls ... Tchani has recorded assists in three consecutive games for the first time in his MLS career ... the midfielder also has four assists over his last three contests alone.
Tony Tchani notched two assists against Philadelphia last weekend, taking his season total to five helpers. That amount represents a new career-best for the Cameroonian in the category, exploding past the three assists he recorded in 2010 with the New York Red Bulls. The two-assist performance also marked the first multi-assist match in Tchani’s career.
The Crew’s three-goal outburst in Philadelphia represented the third time in the 2014 regular-season that the club registered three or more goals in a road match, joining March 8 at D.C. United and May 17 at Portland. The Black & Gold have not had three separate three-goal road performances in a single year since their 2008 MLS Cup Championship season, when they also had three such games. All-told, the Crew has achieved this milestone in six different seasons, with the most such matches coming in 2002, when the club had five three-goal road performances.
Ethan Finlay sparked the Crew’s comeback in Philadelphia by scoring the first of the club’s three successive goals that fueled the 3-2 victory. The goal was Finlay’s 10th of the season, extending his career-best single-season total. Finlay also became the only American player to notch 10 goals for the Crew in a single season since 2005. Previ- ously, the Marshfield, Wisconsin native was tied with Edson Buddle (9, 2005) and Eddie Gaven (9, 2012) for the club record over that span.
CRUCIAL ROAD TRIP CONCLUDES
After claiming six points from a two-match homestand, the Crew began a three-match road swing and thus far has captured three additional points from the first two matches ... after hitting a snag in a defeat away to New England on October 4, the club completed a two-goal comeback in defeating Philadelphia last weekend ... the trip concluded this weekend with the club’s second trip to Red Bull Arena in 2014 ... following this match, the Crew is set to close-out its 2014 regular season with a home date against the Union on Sunday, October 26.
Discovery Signing Emanuel Pogatetz made his club debut last weekend in Philadelphia, recording seven minutes off the bench to help the Black & Gold close-out the 3-1 victory ... a veteran of the Austrian National Team, the Barclays Premier League and the German Bundesliga, Pogatetz signed with Columbus on September 9.
LOCKED AND LOADED
By virtue of Justin Meram’s goal in Philadelphia, the Crew became one of just five MLS clubs to boast three players with eight goals each in 2014 ... the full list is below:
|Columbus Crew||Higuain (11), Finlay (10), Meram (8)|
|FC Dallas||Perez (10), Castillo (10), Michel (8)|
|Seattle Sounders FC||Martins (17), Dempsey (14), Neagle (8)|
|Portland Timbers||Valeri (11), Adi (9), Urruti (9)|
|LA Galaxy||Keane (19), Zardes (16), Donovan (10)|
Steve Clark has made 19 saves over the past four matches for the Crew. Only one other club has received more saves from its starting goalkeeper over that span (Real Salt Lake, 22). Conversely, Philadelphia, this weekend’s opponent, has received just five saves from its starting goalkeepers (Zac MacMath and Rais Mbolhi) over that span, which is the lowest total of any MLS club.
Finlay secured his ninth goal of the campaign last weekend at New England. With that tally, Finlay became one of just three Americans under the age of 25 to record at least nine goals in MLS this season. The Marshfield, Wisconsin native joins LA’s Gyasi Zardes (16 goals) and Houston’s Will Bruin (10) on that list.
The Crew and the Union first met this season on March 22. In the time span from that date until Saturday’s meeting on October 11, 203 days will have passed. That gap is the longest timeframe between meetings of the Crew and any other Eastern Conference opponent this season by a wide margin, exceeding the 108 days between the Black & Gold’s battles with the Houston Dynamo on May 7 and August 23.
CREW SUCCESSFUL ALL-TIME AGAINST PHILADELPHIA ...
Although the Crew/Union rivalry is young, the Black & Gold have experienced success against their fellow Eastern Conference side since the Union’s inception into MLS in 2010 ... with a victory in-hand from earlier this season, the Crew is now 6-3-1 against the Union all-time in regular-season play ... Columbus is 3-1-1 over its last five encounters with Philadelphia, dating back to August 28, 2012 ... the Black & Gold have taken 63.33% of possible points against the Union all-time, trailing only Montreal (70.37%) for most in club history against a single opponent.
... BUT PPL PARK HASN’T BEEN AS KIND
While the Crew is unbeaten at home against the Union (4-0-1 all-time in the regular season), the club’s record at PPL Park is 2-3-0 ... in the Black & Gold’s last trip to Chester, Pa., the club fell by a final score of 3-0 behind goals from Brian Carroll, Conor Casey and Sheanon Williams ... the Crew won its first-ever trip to PPL Park, on August 5, 2010, and added its second victory at Philadelphia on August 29, 2012.
FINLAY CONTINUES BREAKOUT CAMPAIGN
By notching the Black & Gold’s lone tally last weekend at New England, winger Ethan Finlay continued his breakout 2014 season for the Crew ... the goal was Finlay’s ninth of the season and his third over his last four matches ... since his first career MLS goal on May 17 at Portland, Finlay is tied for 10th in League goal-scoring ... among players with at least 18 games played over that same span, Finlay’s 31.03% conversion rate (excluding penalties) ranks fifth in MLS ... the Crew has also posted a record of 5-1-3 in all matches where Finlay finds the back of the net.
TCHANI TIES CAREER-BEST IN ASSISTS
Tony Tchani provided the assist for Ethan Finlay’s first-half goal at Gillette Stadium last weekend, his third assist of the year, which tied the Cameroonian’s single-season MLS best ... in 2010, Tchani’s rookie year, he contributed three assists as a member of the New York Red Bulls ... Tchani’s three assists have all come over the club’s last 11 matches ... the Crew is 2-1-0 when Tchani sets up a tally in 2014.
Steve Clark made his second penalty kick save of the season with the stop of Marco Di Vaio of Montreal last weekend to preserve the shutout, his eighth of the season. The save led the Crew to a 2-0 victory. Clark has allowed just one goal in the club’s last five home contests, back in the 49th minute of the August 16 match against the LA Galaxy, or 410 minutes of Crew Stadium action ago.
On July 19, the Crew was victorious against the Montreal Impact before heading to New England on July 26 where the club secured a 2-1 win. Since that July 19 tilt, in the last 11 contests, the Crew is 7-2-2 and the club is unbeaten (3-0-1) since the beginning of September.
Ethan Finlay recorded his fourth game-winning goal of the year last weekend with his second-minute blast that helped the Crew to a 2-0 victory. Finlay is one of six players in MLS this year under the age of 25 to record at least four game-winning tallies in regular-season action. That list includes Chivas USA’s Erick “Cubo” Torres (4), Real Salt Lake’s Joao Plata (4), Houston’s Will Bruin (5), LA’s Gyasi Zardes (6) and Sporting KC’s Dom Dwyer (6).
CREW WITH SUCCESS AGAINST NEW ENGLAND ...
Saturday’s meeting will be the 63rd regular-season clash between the two teams, the Crew’s most-faced opponent during the season since 1996 ... after a pair of wins over New England already this season, the Crew’s 31 wins (31-20-11) against the Revs are the most versus any opponent in Black & Gold history, more than D.C. United (24 wins against), New York (24 wins against) or Sporting KC (21 wins).
... AND A STRONG STRETCH AGAINST THE REVS HAS HELPED
Although the Revs won the regular-season series in 2013 with three victories, the Black & Gold have found success against the Revs over the last eight seasons, capturing the 2014 regular-season series after a pair of wins on July 26 and September 20 ... ... in the last 20 meetings, dating back to 2007, the Crew is 10-6-4 against the Revs ... during that stretch, the Revs won the regular-season series once: last year ... other than that, the Crew has won the regular-season series now five times and the two teams have split results two other times ... from 1996 through 2000, and again from 2002 through 2006, the two conference foes met four times a year.
CRUCIAL ROAD TRIPS FOR CREW
Fresh off of a six-point homestand, the Crew is on the road for three consecutive weekends before closing-out the regular-season in a home clash against the Philadelphia Union on October 26 ... the Crew was victorious in its last trip to New England on July 26 (2-1), fell to New York on July 12 (1-4) and has yet to make a trip to Philadelphia in 2014 ... overall, the Crew is 3-5-6 on the road in 2014 and the team has secured at least a point in three of its last four road clashes overall.
ABOVE THE RED LINE
Entering the week, the Crew remains above the red line with four tilts to go in regular-season action ... currently, the Black & Gold sit in the fourth slot in the Eastern Conference in the push for the MLS Cup Playoffs, two points ahead of fifth-place New York and three points ahead of onlookers Toronto FC ... the Black & Gold are just two points behind second-place New England ... all four remaining contests for the Crew this year are against Eastern Conference opponents as the club plays Philadelphia twice and once at New York after this weekend.
Tony Tchani is fifth among all MLS players in duels won in 2014 with 185. The Crew midfielder has won 58.18 percent of his duels. Portland’s Darlington Nagbe leads that list with 211 duels won and a 63.36 percent duel success rate. Of the list of the top five duel-winners in regular-season action, Tchani is first on the list in successful passes with 1,422, while Nagbe has 883 successful passes.
Federico Higuain is now second among all MLS players in free-kick goals this season after last weekend’s strike against New England. Both free-kick goals have come against the Revs this year. The Argentine playmaker’s two free-kick goals trails only Michel of FC Dallas who has three.
Federico Higuain continues to lead MLS in corner kicks this season (127), which is now his career high and also ties Guillermo Barros-Schelotto (2010) for the club’s record for corner kicks in a single season. His previous career high for a single season was 123 last year, which he broke against New England last weekend. Overall, Higuain is third on the Crew’s all-time list for corners, trailing Robert Warzycha (503) and Guillermo Barros Schelotto (423).
THREE ON TEAM OF THE WEEK
Recognized for their work in Saturday’s 1-0 win over the New England Revolution, goalkeeper Steve Clark, defender Eric Gehrig and midfielder Tony Tchani earned Team of the Week honors for Week 28 on MLSsoccer.com ... the Black & Gold are the only club with three players in this week’s Best XI ... the Crew also had three repre- sentatives in Week One and Week 23 following wins against D.C. United and the LA Galaxy, respectively.
CONTINUING HOME DOMINANCE ...
The Black & Gold finish a two-match homestand looking to build off of the continued success of late at Crew Stadium ... in the last four home games dating back to August 16, the Crew has been victorious, outscoring its opponents by a score of 11-1 in wins over the LA Galaxy, Houston Dynamo, Chivas USA and New England ... the club has one more home match remaining in the 2014 regular-season after Saturday.
... AND A VICTORY SATURDAY WOULD MAKE IT FIVE STRAIGHT AT HOME
The Black & Gold have won their last four home matches and look for a fifth in a row this weekend against Montreal ... the last time the Crew won five consecutive matches at home was in 2012 in a similar stretch of the season from August 22 to September 29.