MLS Regular Season
EA Sports has selected Crew forward Federico Higuain to the FIFA Ultimate Team - Team of the Week for May 21.
The Argentine notched two goals and one assist in a 3-3 draw at Portland last Saturday.
Higuain, who was the only MLS player to make the worldwide list of the players judged to have the best performances for the week, is joined by players such as Antonio Di Natale and Dries Mertens on the squad.
You can view the entire Team of the Week selection here.
The results are in: following the Crew's 3-3 draw away to Portland, national soccer writers have held the Black & Gold relatively steady in this week's Power Rankings. MLSSoccer.com is the most bullish on the Crew, ranking it 11th.
See the full rankings below, followed by last week's position on the charts:
MLSSoccer.com: 11 (12)
ESPNFC: 15 (14)
SI.com: 14 (13)
BACK ON THE ROAD
Saturday’s match marks the Crew’s fourth match of May and third away from Crew Stadium ... the team is looking to snap a three-match losing streak and return to winning ways on the road ... the Crew is 2-2-1 in road tilts in 2014 and is unbeaten (1-0-1) when leading at halftime of those matches ... the Black & Gold return home for a May 24 clash against Chicago before a final road match of May at Toronto FC on May 31.
GREAT HONOR FOR THE CREW ...
The Columbus Crew announced on Monday that three players have been named to 30-man preliminary rosters ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, including club captain Michael Parkhurst (United States Men’s National Team) as well as defenders Giancarlo Gonzalez and Waylon Francis (Costa Rican National Team) ... forward Jairo Arrieta has also been named as an alternate for Costa Rica’s provisional roster ... “We are proud of our players as they prepare to represent the Columbus Crew in their respective National Team camps,” said Crew Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. “The possibility of representing your nation in the FIFA World Cup is our sport’s highest honor, and we’re thrilled for our players that now have this opportunity. We wish them every success ahead of this summer’s tournament.”
... BUT LINEUP CHANGES REQUIRED FOLLOWING DEPARTURES
Michael Parkhurst (United States) and Waylon Francis (Costa Rica) have departed for National Team camp for their respective countries, with Giancarlo Gonzalez (Costa Rica) set to leave after this weekend’s match ... therefore, Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter has two spots to fill on the backline this weekend.
ADDITIONAL REINFORCEMENTS AVAILABLE
Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter has several options to replace Waylon Francis and Michael Parkhurst on the backline this weekend ... in addition to veteran depth, the Crew recalled Kevan George and Ben Sweat from loan at USL-PRO affiliate Dayton Dutch Lions ... Sweat was on a game-by-game loan and started two matches while George had been with Dayton since March, earning significant playing experience.
THE ROAD TRIP CONTINUES
Wednesday’s match marks the second of three games in a stretch of three tilts in seven days ... the contest also marks the first time in 2014 that the team is playing back-to-back road matches in the club’s extended road trip, traveling directly from Kansas City to Houston before coming home ... including Wednesday’s clash against the Dynamo, the Crew has three more road matches in the month of May ... the team has consecutive away matches scheduled in July (July 4 at Colorado and July 12 at New York) before a trio of consecutive road matches in October (at New England on October 4; at Philadelphia on October 11; and at New York on October 19).
A QUICK TURNAROUND AND A FOCUS SHIFT TO HOUSTON
Following Sunday’s match, Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter was quick to note the team’s rapid turnaround and shift of focus ahead of Wednesday’s road tilt ... said Berhalter, “We need to get guys recovered from this game. Obviously it’s been warm, so we have to recover and get prepared for the next game. We’re going to focus, right from the beginning, on playing our game. That’s our focus. We want our guys to look at this game and see what they could have done better. We’ll give them feedback about what they could have done better and we’re going to move forward.”
BEGINNING A NEW STREAK ...
Sunday’s 2-0 defeat at Sporting KC marked just the second loss for the Crew in 2014 ... the last time the Crew lost -- on April 5 against Toronto -- the team rebounded with a trio of draws as the Crew went unbeaten from April 13-26 ... already this year, the team has gone on a pair of three-match unbeaten streaks, with additional wins in three Match tilts to open the year.
... AND BUILDING OFF A STREAK VERSUS HOUSTON
Last September’s Crew victory against Houston began a new streak against the Dynamo ... the Crew’s 3-1 loss at Houston on August 3, 2013 snapped a nine-match unbeaten streak (3-0-6) against the Dynamo, dating back to March 21, 2009 ... the Black & Gold defeated Houston 2-0 on June 18, 2011 in Houston, but the two teams have drawn four of the last six matches, including a 1-1 draw on June 1, 2013 at Crew Stadium.
Dan Haiek and Armchair Analyst Matt Doyle preview the Sunday afternoon match between Sporting KC and the Columbus Crew. Will Benny Feilhaber have space to operate against the Crew midfield? How will Columbus attack with Aurelien Collin missing the match? Find out Sunday at 4:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
MLSsoccer.com's Dan Haiek and Armchair Analyst Matt Doyle preview the Saturday evening match between the Columbus Crew and New York Red Bulls. Is Roy Miller the best left back in MLS? Do the Red Bulls have an answer for the overlapping Columbus fullbacks? Find out Saturday at 730 p.m. ET on MLS Live.
RIDING A TWO-MATCH UNBEATEN STREAK ...
The Crew enters Saturday’s match with a two-match unbeaten streak following a pair of 1-1 draws the last two weekends ... after scoring a first-half goal in San Jose before finishing 1-1 on April 13, the Crew earned a point with a 90th-minute goal in the 1-1 result against D.C. United at home on April 19.
... AND LOOKING FOR SECOND TRIO OF UNBEATEN TILTS IN 2014
Should the Crew extend its unbeaten streak to three matches, it would mark the second time in 2014 that the team has been able to do so entering its seventh match on Saturday ... previously, the club opened the campaign with a historic 3-0-0 start with road wins at D.C. (March 8) and Seattle (March 29) book-ending a home-opener win against Philadelphia on March 22.
COMING OFF OF BACK-TO-BACK DRAWS
Last season, the Crew played to a pair of back-to-back draws throughout the year and struggled in the following match -- something the Black & Gold had not done in previous years ... in 2013, the Crew was 0-2-0 in the next match following consecutive draws but was 1-0-0 in 2012, 1-0-0 in 2011 and 2-1-1 in 2009 in games following a pair of deadlocked tilts.
BUILDING OFF A HOME DRAW
After a 1-1 result at Crew Stadium against D.C. last weekend, the Crew looks to build off of a point in its next home match ... in 2013, the Crew went 1-1-1 following a home draw, securing points in two of the next three matches that immediately followed three individual Crew Stadium draws.
BACK ON THE ROAD
For the second time in three matches, the Crew takes to the road for an early-season test ... the Black & Gold are looking for their first back-to-back road wins since 2010 when an four-day span in May saw wins at New York (May 20) and Kansas City (May 23).
LOOKING FOR HISTORIC HOT START AWAY FROM HOME
Following the 3-0 win at D.C. United in the first away match of 2014, the Crew has a chance on Saturday to accomplish something the team has been unable to do in more than 10 years: win its first two road games of a campaign ... the last time the club won its first two tilts away from Crew Stadium was in 2003 with April wins at New York (April 12) and at New England (April 19).
STOPPING BY SIGI’S HOUSE...
Saturday marks another match against former Crew boss Sigi Schmid and the man that helped lead the Crew to its first MLS Cup victory in 2008 ... Schmid held a record of 44-33-25 in three seasons in Columbus from 2006-2008.
... AND FAMILIAR FACES IN MARSHALL, EVANS
Saturday marks the first time that Chad Marshall faces his former club ... last December, the Crew traded Marshall to Seattle Sounders FC in exchange for allocation money and a 2015 Third Round SuperDraft selection ... Marshall played in more minutes (22,220), matches (253) and seasons (10) than anyone else in the Black & Gold's 19-year history ... Brad Evans also began his MLS career with the Crew and following his rookie season in 2007, his 26 appearances and five goals helped the Crew to a 2008 MLS Cup title run ... Evans, however, has seen his former club since joining Seattle in 2009.
SHARP PASSES, SMART PASSES OVERALL ...
Through a pair of matches in 2014, the Crew leads MLS in passing accuracy ... Saturday’s opponent -- Seattle -- sits just behind the Crew in sixth among the top third of MLS ... a full breakdown of Opta statistics is below:
Team ............................................... Passing Accuracy
Columbus Crew .............................. 82.94
LA Galaxy ........................................ 80.82
Philadelphia Union ........................ 79.66
Real Salt Lake .................................. 79.33
New York Red Bulls........................ 79.09
Seattle Sounders FC ....................... 78.89