In the latest episode of Between the Lines, MLSSoccer.com's Armchair Analyst Matt Doyle looks at the evolving role of the No. 10 in Major League Soccer. Doyle cites Crew midfielder Federico Higuaín as one of the few remaining playmakers in MLS today.
It seems 12th place is the consensus of where the Crew belongs in various media outlets' Power Rankings this week. The Black & Gold moved up in MLSSoccer.com and ProSoccerTalk's rankings, but somehow dropped a spot in Sports Illustrated's table after beating Toronto FC over the weekend.
Here is where the Crew falls in five Power Rankings:
MLSSoccer.com: 12th (13th)
ESPNFC: 12th (12th)
Sports Illustrated: 12th (11th)
ProSoccerTalk: 12th (14th)
Soccer By Ives: 12th (13th)
Last week's ranking in parentheses.
Crew forward Dominic Oduro appears on the latest episode of PitchPass, where he talks about the addition of New York City FC, his love for Papa John's pizza and hopes for joining the Ghanaian National Team.
Listen to the full episode which also features former Crew midfielder and NBC Sports commentator Kyle Martino.
Crew playmaker Federico Higuaín was named to MLSSoccer.com's Team of the Week for Week 12 after supplying the game-winning assist to Dominic Oduro against Toronto FC on Saturday. The performance marks Higuaín's first Team of the Week honor this season, joining Josh Williams (Week 10), Jairo Arrieta (Week Nine) and Danny O'Rourke (Week Nine) to earn the accolade so far in 2013.
Despite a dominant performance in front of the Crew Stadium faitfhul, the Black & Gold were unable to find the back of the net in a 1-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls back on May 4. Tim Cahill's 80th minute headed tally was the difference as the Aussie midfielder headed the rebound from an Andy Gruenebaum save over the head over the outstretched Crew 'keeper and into the net. The Crew limited superstar forward Thierry Henry's impact on the match as the Frenchman failed to register a single shot in the match.
Here is a look at how the lopsided stats failed to reflect the end result.
|SHOTS ON GOAL||6||3|
|TOTAL PASSES (PCT. COMPLETE)||400 (75%)||359 (70%)|
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.
In case you missed, Tuesday night served as a talent show of sorts for Crew players on Twitter. First, following a long day of band practice, the @YellowSwagBand handle was launched to start promoting Sloan and the Keepers, a band made up of guitar players and karaoke all-stars Shawn Sloan, Daniel Withrow and Andy Gruenebaum. The band later tweeted the video for their first song, a parody of James Blunt's "You're Beautiful" dedicated to defender Tyson Wahl (above).
Wahl's thoughts on being the muse for the band's tune?
"First of all, I was shocked that they even thought of me," the defender said. "When writing a song, to spontaneously think of me out of everyone else is flattering. It was kind of stupid and funny at the same time. I thought it was hilarious."
The band is profiled in this week's Columbus Alive!, available for FREE at various locations around the city.
— Shawn Sloan (@ShawnSloan) May 14, 2013
If you prefer Hell's Kitchen to American Idol, Ethan Finlay and Ryan Finley later took to the social media website to showcase their cooking skills and debate who the really deserves the title of "Chef Fin."
@ethanfinlay13 Debatable. Need to see the finish product.
— Ryan Finley (@Ryan_Finley9) May 14, 2013
@ethanfinlay13 kids got potential
— Ryan Finley (@Ryan_Finley9) May 14, 2013
MLSsoccer.com's Greg Lalas and Matt Doyle preview the Trillium Cup presented by Scotts match coming up this weekend as Toronto host the Columbus Crew, kicking off at 5pm ET on Saturday.
It will surely be a bittersweet moment for new Toronto FC Assistant Coach Duncan Oughton as he prepares to face the club he spent 12 years with in his first match on Ryan Nelsen's staff. But Oughton isn't the first former Crew player to venture into coaching. After all, the Black & Gold's technical staff boasts four former Crew players.
Other former players have even earned some silverware as coaches. Todd Yeagley and Brian Maisonneuve recently won their first NCAA Championship while coaching at Indiana University, while Ezra Hendrickson has claimed three Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups while on Sigi Schmid's staff in Seattle. In his second season as Head Coach of Lanús in Argentina, Guillermo Barros Schelotto could be on his way to hardware as his club currently sits in second place of the Argentine Primera División.
Here's a full list of former Crew players in the coaching ranks:
Robert Warzycha, Head Coach
Brian Bliss, Technical Director/U.S. U-20 Assistant Coach
Mike Lapper, Assistant Coach
Ricardo Iribarren, Assistant Coach
Billy Thompson, Crew Soccer Academy Director of Coaching
Duncan Oughton, Assistant Coach
Seattle Sounders FC
Ezra Hendrickson, Assistant Coach
New York Red Bulls
Robin Fraser, Assistant Coach
John Wolyniec, Reserve Team Coach/Player Development Coordinator
Pat Noonan, Assistant Coach
Real Salt Lake
Andy Williams, Head Scout
Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Head Coach
Kaizer Chiefs (South African Premier League)
Doctor Khumalo, Youth Development Coach
Todd Yeagley, Head Coach
Brian Maisonneuve, Assistant Coach
Penn State University
Bo Oshoniyi, Assistant Coach
University of New Mexico
Brandon Moss, Assistant Coach
Steven Herdsman, Assistant Coach