MLS Regular Season
MLSsoccer.com's Dan Haiek and Armchair Analyst Matt Doyle preview the Saturday afternoon Trillium Cup match between Toronto FC and the Columbus Crew. With Michael Bradley and Federico Higuain both missing the match, who will win the midfield? Can Toronto generate enough chances to defeat its rivals?
Columbus Crew Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter said today that he has decided to allow Kevan George to join the Trinidad & Tobago National Team for its two impending friendlies.
Berhalter, who initially decided to keep George with the Crew, confirmed that Michael Parkhurst's return led the club to change its mind.
The Soca Warriors are slated to face two sides that are headed to the FIFA World Cup early next month. George and his teammates will face Argentina in Buenos Aires on June 4 before playing Iran in Sao Paolo on June 8.
Berhalter also confirmed that the timing of the matches means that George will not rejoin the Crew until after the FIFA World Cup concludes.
Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Images
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.