For his brace in the Crew's 3-0 win at home over Chivas USA on Sunday, winger Justin Meram was named to MLSsoccer.com's Team of the Week for Week 26 of MLS action. The honor makes for the University of Michigan product's second appearance on the Team of the Week in 2014 following his goal and assist on August 23 against Houston.
Brad Stuver's run of strong play for the Wilmington Hammerheads continued over the previous week. Over three matches played, the Crew loanee went 1-1-1 in goal with two clean sheets and just two goals conceded over the span.
Stuver began yet another busy week by blanking Orlando City SC to the tune of a 0-0 draw on Wednesday, September 3. On Friday, September 5, the former Cleveland State Viking traveled to Dayton and faced his fellow Black & Gold loanees Matt Walker, Ross Friedman, Matt Wiet and Ben Sweat, who all started for the Dutch Lions in a 4-0 Hammerheads win. Stuver concluded the week by dropping a 2-0 decision to the Rochester Rhinos.
The match against Wilmington was the final contest of the season for Dayton, which finishes 2014 with a 6-18-4 record. As such, all Crew loanees have returned to training with the Black & Gold on a regular basis. Wilmington finished the regular season with a 9-8-11 record, qualifying for the playoffs as the number-seven seed. The club is set to face Sacramento Republic FC in the first round of the postseason.
Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Images
Justin Meram's curling effort is nominated for AT&T Goal of the Week following the Crew's 3-0 win over Chivas USA. The winger's strike is up against the New York Red Bulls' Thierry Henry, LA Galaxy's Baggio Husidic, Portland Timbers FC's Alvas Powell and Real Salt Lake's Alvaro Saborío for the weekly honor.
Voting runs until 2:59 a.m. ET on Fridays.
Federico Higuain continues to lead MLS in corner kicks this season (109). 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).
The Crew is the only team to feature three players with at least 600 successful passes in the opposing end (Higuain , Tchani , Trapp ). No other MLS team has more than one player that has accomplished this feat.
Crew captain Michael Parkhurst leads 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 87.29 percent of his passes and has worn the armband in 25 tilts for the Black & Gold in 2014.
IT’S BEEN A LONG TIME
Sunday’s meeting is the last match against Chivas USA and the first in quite a long time ... the Crew opened the 2013 season on March 2 with a 3-0 road win at Chivas USA ... since the last time the two teams played, the Crew has had 59 matches against other MLS opponents.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR CENTRAL MIDFIELDERS
Wil Trapp and Tony Tchani are set to miss Sunday’s match while each serving one-match suspensions due to yellow-card accumulation ... Sunday’s tilt is the first time Tchani has missed action in 2014 ... the clash against Chivas USA presents an opportunity for other players to get a start in the central midfield as the Tchani-Trapp pairing started the last 10 matches together.
Justin Meram scored his fifth goal of the season to open the scoring in the 35th minute on August 23 against Houston ... Meram has scored a goal in three of the club’s last four matches ... of Meram’s 10 career goals since 2011, five of them have come in 2014 .
Crew midfielder Romain Gall notched a goal in the U.S. U-20 Men's National Team's 2-0 victory over Racing Club Reserves in Buenos Aires, Argentina on Thursday afternoon.
Gall was joined on the scoresheet by Philadelphia Union Homegrown Player Zach Pfeffer, who scored on a penalty in the 11th minute before the newest member of the Black & Gold doubled the USA's advantage in the 27th minute, aided by an assist from Paul Arriola.
The U.S. U-20s next play the Defensa y Justicia Reserves on Saturday, September 6, followed by a meeting with Argentina’s U-20 squad on Tuesday, September 9.
Photo Credit: U.S. Soccer
Recovering from his MCL sprain suffered on July 4, Hector Jimenez has made substitute appearances in each of the Crew's previous two matches, including the 2-0 loss in Montreal. That match, which came on the heels of two strong performances at home, has left the Black & Gold in a state of refocusing for this weekend's match against Chivas USA.
"To be honest with you, we sat down [earlier this week] and we talked," said Jimenez. "[Montreal] was one of those games that was just a bad game. We're going to try to put it in the past and move on. We were coming off of two good victories against Houston and LA, and we're going to try to prepare like we did for those games this coming weekend. I know it's a huge game after obviously a defeat. Three points at home this weekend would be huge."
Aiding the Crew in its quest to right the ship is the fact that the club is returning to Crew Stadium, where it has played well recently, particularly in the resounding victories over the Dynamo and the Galaxy. Jimenez said that recovering from the Montreal match was "definitely" aided by playing back at home.
"Knowing that we have a really important game this weekend helps out a lot. It's one of those games where we have to come out and get three points this weekend, especially with it being a tight race for the playoffs in the East."
Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Images