Giancarlo Gonzalez and Waylon Francis were welcomed back to Crew Stadium on Wednesday night following their run in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The Columbus crowd gave them an ovation before kickoff, as many fans saw the Costa Rican duo on the world’s stage. Americans made up a full 20% of all the traffic to the FIFA official apps and Web sites. Over the tournament, 36.7 million unique visitors from the United States have visited FIFA.com or the FIFA app. That’s about 11.28% of the U.S. population.
The Black & Gold return to action on Saturday, seeking a critical home win against the Montreal Impact. The Crew does have recent history to its advantage this weekend. Montreal is currently 0-5-3 on the road in 2014 and has yet to secure a victory away from Stade Saputo. The Crew is also 3-0-0 in the three previous meetings between the Black & Gold and the Impact at Crew Stadium.
The 75th-minute mark in matches between the Crew and Montreal has led to fascinatng action in regular-season play dating back to 2012. In the most recent meeting on September 14, 2013, Federico Higuain added his second assist of the contest – and team-best eighth of the season – on Dominic Oduro’s match-winner in the 78th minute. Both meetings in 2012 featured game-winning goals in the 89th-minute or later as Patrice Bernier’s 89th-minute PK secured the 2-1 win for Montreal on July 8 while Emilio Renteria’s 93rd-minute goal gave the Crew a 2-1 win on Sept. 1, 2012. Just outside the parameter, Dominic Oduro also snagged a 72nd-minute equalizer to give the Black & Gold a draw in a 1-1 clash on April 14, 2013 in Montreal.
BERHALTER ON A TOUGH LOSS WEDNESDAY NIGHT
Following the club’s 2-1 defeat on Wednesday at home, Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter spoke to the media on the turnaround needed ahead of Saturday ... said Berhalter: “We’re not victims in this whole thing. The way we perform we didn’t deserve to win that game and it wasn’t a pretty soccer game all around. The whole thing wasn’t pretty. Our job is to come out here and entertain the fans and play attractive soccer and we didn’t do that we didn’t live up to our end of the bargain tonight. It was hesitancy, it was guys not moving and it’s too bad because especially when they got the red card we could have gotten more out of that and we didn’t.”
FRANCIS, GONZALEZ RETURNED
Crew defenders Waylon Francis and Giancarlo Gonzalez represented the Crew in Brazil during the 2014 FIFA World Cup and returned on Wednesday with a start after meeting the team in New York last weekend ... Gonzalez started and played in every single match for The Ticos ... Gonzalez also added successful spot kicks during penalty kicks on June 29 as Costa Rica advanced past Greece and in the team’s final match against the Netherlands on July 5 in the Quarterfinals.
LAST EIGHT HAVE BEEN STRONG FOR FINLAY
With his assist on Adam Bedell’s goal in New York on July 12, Ethan Finlay has scored a goal or an assist in six of the last eight League matches he’s played in dating back to May 17 at Portland ... Finlay scored his first career tally in Oregon before returning home for a second goal against Chicago on May 24 ... on May 31 in Toronto, Finlay added an assist on Justin Meram’s tally to open the scoring before scoring on June 4... the Crew was held scoreless in the 0-0 draw on June 7 and Finlay missed action on June 29 ... he returned with the team’s lone goal in the 1-1 draw at Colorado on July 4 ... the Crew earned an own goal on Wednesday night against Sporting KC in just the second match in eight League contests Finlay has played in of late in which he did not record a goal or an assist.
Homegrown midfielder and Gahanna native Wil Trapp is one of the subjects of Capital Style's "Columbus Athletes, Outside the Lines" feature in the magazine's latest issue. Trapp's style is showcased alongside Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman James Wisniewski and former Ohio State star and Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins.
Among the topics covered in the feature are Trapp's travel essentials, music preferences and career ambitions.
Pick up the issue at a news stand around town or visit Capital-Style.com.
Photo: Capital Style
MLSsoccer.com's Dan Haiek and Armchair Analyst Matt Doyle preview the Wednesday night match between the Columbus Crew and Sporting KC.
The Crew enters the week looking at a three-match homestand with a pair of League tilts on Wednesday and Saturday. The Black & Gold are unbeaten (1-0-2) in their last three contests at Crew Stadium dating back to May 24 against Chicago. In the current home unbeaten span, the team is averaging 13.33 shots per game.
Since 2006, Columbus and Sporting Kansas City have traded off streaks of at least five consecutive matches of success for one club in the all-time regular-season series. The Crew dropped five straight matches from 2006-2007 before the Black & Gold rattled-off a six match (5-0-1) stretch of points against the Kansas City side from 2008 to 2010. With Sporting KC now 4-0-1 in their last five matches against the Crew since 2012, the historical tides are due for a shift for the better in Columbus against Sporting.
For the second straight week, the Crew faces one of the League’s top goal scorers in its upcoming match. Last weekend, Bradley Wright-Phillips scored his League-leading 15th of the season. On Wednesday, Sporting KC’s Dom Dwyer comes to Columbus with the Crew looking to keep his season total at 14 tallies.