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MLS Regular Season

16 September 1:53 pm

The Crew's 2-2 draw in Houston kept it relatively level in the weekly Power Rankings. With more huge intra-conference matches on tap, the Black & Gold have an opportunity to make a statement and climb the polls -- and more importantly, the Eastern Conference standings -- in the weeks to come.

See below for the Crew's rank as well as its previous position:

MLSsoccer.com: 10 (10)

ESPNFC: 11 (11)

SI.com: 11 (8)

Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Images

09 September 10:18 am

 

The Crew's home victory over Chivas USA resulted in varying levels of movement across national Power Rankings. In fact, across the three weekly polls, the Crew rose in one, remained the same in one and dropped a spot in the other. Such is the reality of MLS parity and the League-wide movement. The bottom line: it was a successful week in Crewville, as the Black & Gold earned three points and remained above the MLS Cup Playoffs threshold.

See below for the rankings, with last week's position indicated afterward:

MLSsoccer.com: 10 (9)

ESPNFC: 11 (11)

SI.com: 8 (10)

Photo Credit: Daniel Herlensky

05 September 3:01 pm

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.

MERAM MAGIC

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 .

04 September 3:00 pm

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

03 September 11:53 am

On a sunny Wednesday afternoon in Obetz, the Crew defeated Dayton Dutch Lions FC by a 5-1 score in a friendly scrimmage.

The match was an opportunity for select Black & Gold players to stay sharp as well as to continue fostering the relationship with the club's USL-PRO affiliate. Ben Speas notched two goals for the Crew and guest trainee Kelechi Iheanacho of Manchester City added a hat trick. Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter said that Iheanacho, 17, is training with the Crew to maintain fitness before rejoining the Barclays Premier League side in mid-October.

"It's been unfortunate that we haven't had enough reserve games for the guys that haven't been playing," said Berhalter. "This is an opportunity for them to get game time. We did that in an abbreviated form [with two 35-minute halves]. Overall, I thought it was helpful. Guys like Hector [Jimenez], Jairo [Arrieta], Daniel [Paladini], Kevan [George] -- to give them some minutes -- Chad [Barson], all the guys, it was definitely worthwhile."

George and Paladini also started together in the holding midfield role. Both are candidates to start on Sunday against Chivas USA in the absences of Wil Trapp and Tony Tchani due to yellow-card accumulation. 

"I thought [the pairing] was good. I thought they controlled the game from the middle," said the Crew boss. "Defensively, they were both good. I was pleased."

03 September 8:22 am

The Crew took a small slide in national Power Rankings after its 2-0 loss in Montreal on Saturday, but the Black & Gold have a strong chance to rebound with a home clash on Sunday against Chivas USA (3:00 p.m. ET / Time Warner Cable SportsChannel).

See below for this week's rankings with last week's position indicated afterward:

ESPNFC: 11 (10)

SI.com: 10 (9)

MLSsoccer.com: 9 (8)

Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Images

27 August 10:12 am

After reviewing the tape from Saturday's 3-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo, MLS confirmed that winger Ethan Finlay earned a secondary assist on Aaron Schoenfeld's goal. Finlay, quick in transition, played a pass to Waylon Francis, whose cross found Schoenfeld for a tally in the 64th minute.

The added assist gives Finlay six goals and five assists on the season, with each tally or helper coming during the winger's last 14 matches. Finlay has notched at least a goal or an assist in 10 of those 14 contests. The torrid stretch began on May 17 in Portland with the former Creighton Bluejay's first MLS goal. Against the LA Galaxy on August 16, Finlay registered his first career "multi-point" match, with one goal and one assist.

The 2012 MLS SuperDraft first-round selection ranks second on the Black & Gold in both goals and assists, trailing Federico Higuain in both categories.

26 August 12:28 pm

The Crew's second-straight three-goal victory led to another strong showing in the weekly Power Rankings. The Black & Gold rose two additional spots in each of the three major national polls.

See below for this week's ranks with last week's position indicated afterward:

MLSsoccer.com: 8 (10)

ESPNFC: 10 (12)

SI.com: 9 (11)

Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Images

22 August 1:54 pm

GREAT HOME CROWDS

The Crew completes a three-match homestand on Saturday with a visit from Houston, looking to build-off the home attendance success in recent weeks ... over the last two weeks, the Crew has averaged 19,275 fans per game ... last Saturday’s attendance of 20,729 marked the Crew’s third sellout of the season ... that attendance marks the 30th largest all-time crowd in Crew Stadium history dating back to 1999, which includes MLS regular-season, MLS Cup Playoffs, an MLS Cup and U.S. Soccer matches.

DOMINATING THE DYNAMO IN COLUMBUS

Houston arrives in Columbus for its 10th trip to Columbus Crew Stadium since 2006 ... Crew Stadium has not been kind to the Dynamo ... since a June 10, 2007 victory for Houston in Columbus, the Crew is unbeaten (4-0-3) against Houston at home ... in that span, the Crew has outscored Houston, 13-6 and has shut-out the Texas side four times.

FOUR-GOAL PERFORMANCE

Four different Crew players scored in Saturday’s 4-1 win over the LA Galaxy ... it was the Crew’s first four-goal performance of the season and first since the 4-2 win at FC Dallas on September 29, 2013.

A FIRST FOR SPEAS, GONZALEZ

On Saturday against LA, Ben Speas recorded his first goal of the season in the 75th minute to give the Crew a 3-1 lead and Giancarlo Gonzalez scored his first goal in his MLS career in the 84th minute in the match’s final strike of the evening ... Gonzalez became the first Crew defender to score in 2014 ... for Speas, it was the second career goal for the midfielder ... Speas scored his first strike in D.C. last season in a tally that earned him the club’s Goal of the Year award, voted by the fans.

21 August 11:23 am

Saturday's 4-1 triumph over the LA Galaxy perpetuated a positive statistic for the Columbus Crew: the club is unbeaten (5-0-3) when leading at halftime this season. In those eight matches, the Crew has scored 13 first-half goals and has notched exactly three shots on target per first half. Compare that to 1.3 shots on target per first half in the 16 matches that the Crew has been tied or trailing after the first 45 minutes, and you can see the importance of an early start. 

Beyond starting quickly, the statistic is also a testament to the Crew's ability to get results from positive positions. Consider Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter's opinion on the second half against LA:

"The second half was, to me, more of an exercise in counter-attacking. You saw it. We had guys running in the counter-attack. They switched to three in the back ... and it hurt them. There was a lot of open space."

When asked if he thinks his team's style lends itself well to burying teams that have to chase the game against the Crew, Berhalter said that he hopes so. The evidence supports it, and the Crew will be looking for more of the same against Houston on Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET / Time Warner Cable SportsChannel).

Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Images