In 2014, the Columbus Crew has set an all-time club record with five sellouts at Crew Stadium. Another sign of the explosion of soccer both in this city and nationwide, the Black & Gold's five sellouts are more than New York, Chicago, New England, Montreal, D.C. and Houston in the Eastern Conference, and more than Chivas USA, Colorado, Dallas and LA in the Western Conference. But most importantly, at home, great crowd support has led to wins.
In the Crew's five sellouts this season, the Black & Gold are 4-0-1 with an aggregate score of 9-2:
|FC Dallas||6/29/14||D, 0-0||20,617*|
|LA Galaxy||8/16/14||W, 4-1||20,729|
|New England||9/20/14||W, 1-0||21,318|
*Match delayed one day, officially recorded as sellout.
The Crew's 7-2-2 record over its last 11 matches, capped off by a 2-0 win over Montreal on Saturday, has resulted in a sharp rise in the national Power Rankings. The Black & Gold jumped an average of three spots in each of the polls.
See below for Columbus' exact placement with last week's rank indicated:
MLSsoccer.com: 7 (10)
ESPNFC: 7 (11)
SI.com: 8 (10)
Photo Credit: Betke/TheCrew.com
Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark's leaping save to deny Calum Mallace, as well as the netminder's diving, penalty-kick save against Marco Di Vaio to help the Black & Gold to a 2-0 shutout against the Montreal Impact, are each nominated for Save of the Week on MLSsoccer.com. Aside from himself, Clark is up against the Chicago Fire's Sean Johnson, Chivas USA's Dan Kennedy and the Houston Dynamo's Tyler Deric for Week 29's best stop.
Voting runs until 2:59 a.m. ET on Friday and the winner will be announced later that day.
After scoring the quickest goal of the season for the Crew in the second minute of Saturday's 2-0 victory over the Montreal Impact, winger Ethan Finlay earned MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week honors for Week 29. Finlay continues to emerge as a key contributor for the Black & Gold with a career-high eight goals and five assists this season, and is the lone representative for the Black & Gold on this week's Team of the Week.
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.
Crew players Tyson Wahl, Matt Walker, Wil Trapp and Aaron Schoenfeld teamed-up with Crew Cat and children from the Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio Monday for an afternoon of playing games and hanging out at Dave & Buster’s. The Black & Gold also worked with DSACO earlier this week when Crew Stadium hosted its annual Buddy Walk on Sunday, September 21.
To those who follow the Crew (and maybe the New England Revolution), it's no secret: Federico Higuain is deadly when standing over the ball on a set piece near goal. Pipa's strike against the Revs on Saturday was his second such goal of 2014, and his second against New England after scoring from a very similar position in Foxborough earlier this season. Additionally, Higuaín scored on two free kicks against the Revolution on August 25, 2012.
The Argentine currently ranks second in free-kick goals this season, trailing FC Dallas' Michel, who has three. The two players are the only two with more than one in 2014.
Despite ranking second this season, since Higuain's MLS debut, nobody has notched more free-kick goals. In fact, only eight players over that time period (since August 19, 2012) have recorded more than one free-kick tally:
|Player||Free-Kick Goals since 8/19/12|
Over this span, Higuain also has registered 34 shots from a free kick, which bests New England's Lee Nguyen by four for the League lead in that time period as well.