MLS Regular Season
UNBEATEN STREAK CONTINUES
The 1-1 draw on Sunday at Montreal extended the Crew’s modest unbeaten streak to four games (1-0-3) dating back to March 16 against San Jose ... the team’s last (and only) loss came when the Crew fell 2-1 in Vancouver on March 9, more than one month ago ... the Black & Gold are one of three teams with a current unbeaten streak of four or more games, joining Portland (4), Kansas City (4) and FC Dallas (5).
EASTERN CONFERENCE PERFECTIONISTS
This weekend’s match in Chicago also puts the Black & Gold’s perfect Eastern Conference record on the line ... following a 1-1 draw at Montreal last Sunday, the Crew is now 1-0-2 in Eastern Conference play this season after opening 2013 with three straight Western Conference matches (1-1-1).
ROAD SWING WRAPS-UP
The Black & Gold return to the road this weekend for their fifth away match in seven contests thus far in 2013 ... although the Crew has yet to win at home (0-0-2), the team has been able to secure key road wins after posting a 2-1-1 record away from home thus far ... after Saturday, the Crew plays its next three straight matches at home: April 27 vs. D.C., May 4 vs. New York and May 11 vs. Colorado.
Saturday's match vs. Chicago Fire will be carried LIVE and for FREE on MLSsoccer.com as the el Jimador Tequila MLS Stream of the Week.
* The stream is available only at MLSsoccer.com and fans must use a device with Adobe Flash player.
* The stream is available to fans inside the U.S., Canada, and Mexico
* An MLS Network account is required. Register at MLSsoccer.com or at the top left of TheCrew.com
*Local blackout rules also apply. Learn more
The Crew and Chicago Fire renew their rivalry this weekend at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill. Here is a look back at how the series played out in 2012.
First half goals from Eddie Gaven and Emilio Rentería moved the Crew's spring unbeaten streak to five matches as the Black & Gold beat the Fire back on May 26 of last year 2-1. Celtic punk band Flogging Molly celebrated the win with a post-match concert on the Crew Stadium main stage.
The Crew couldn't fight back from an early-two goal deficit as Marco Pappa and Dominic Oduro tallied for the Fire within the first 30 minutes. Tony Tchani got one back for the Black & Gold shortly after Gonzalo Segares was sent off in the 29th minute. However, the Crew failed to find an equalizer despite playing against 10 men for 61 minutes.
Jairo Arrieta's aggressiveness gave the Crew an early advantage, as the Costa Rican pick-pocketed Fire 'keeper Sean Johnson to put the Crew ahead at the 15 minute mark. Columbus couldn't hold the lead however, as two Chris Rolfe tallies within three minutes of each other ultimately spelled doom for the Black & Gold.
From Burkina Faso to Malaysia to Finland, today's match between the Crew and Philadelphia Union will be broadcast in 88 countries worldwide. Of course, for fans in Ohio the match will be telecast on FOX Sports Ohio. It is also available online via MLSLive and as part of the Direct Kick package.
Here is the full list of availability around the world:
Nex Media: (Indonesia)
Canal + Scandinavia: (Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden)
Sport Klub: (Hungary)
TEN Sports: (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka)
Sport TV: (Slovenia)
Setanta Africa: (Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Comoros Islands, Congo Brazzaville, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, St. Helena, Swaziland, Togo, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Zanzibar, Zimbabwe)
Al Jazeera: (Algeria, Bahrain, Chad, Djibouti, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, UAE and Yemen)
Arena Sport: (Former Yugoslavia - except Slovenia)
Astro Supersport: (Malaysia, Brunei)
With Bill Hamid coming off MLS Player of the Week honors, the Crew knew it would be tough to beat the 22-year-old D.C. United goalkeeper in Saturday's match at RFK Stadium. As expected, Hamid made several acrobatic saves to keep United in the game as the Black & Gold peppered him with nine shots on goal throughout the afternoon.
Not to be outdone, Crew backstop Andy Gruenebaum fed off Hamid's play on the other end of the field to make several key stops to help the Crew to the 2-1 victory away from home.
"[Hamid] played out of his mind again," Gruenebaum said after the match. "He’s had a couple back-to-back games where he’s just feeling it and right now he’s on fire.
"Anytime you see someone on the other end make a great save it, you hope – I mean, you obviously don’t want to have to be in that position, but when it happens you hope to be there and it was an interesting game. It was probably one of the weirdest games I’ve ever played in.”
Added Head Coach Robert Warzycha: "[Hamid] did very well on Chad [Marshall]'s save, and following with Tyson Wahl. I think the second half, the goalies did a very good job. They did what they were supposed to do. They made some saves and there were some clear chances, but they stood on their heads and they were very, very good.”
Perhaps the top highlight of Saturday afternoon was Gruenebaum's back-to-back-to-back saves from Lionard Pajoy, Brandon McDonald and Dwayne De Rosario attempts that NBC Sports broadcaster Arlo White could only describe as "a miracle."
The humble Gruenebaum claims some luck was involved.
“It was a shot through traffic from the top, I didn’t see it until the end so I wasn’t able to hold it clean, but I just saw [De Rosario] there wide open so I just got up and just tried to make myself big.
"I kind of got lucky there.”
When Crew forward Ryan Finley transferred to Notre Dame after his sophmore season at Duke, he probably expected to start a few games for the Irish after netting 28 goals for the Blue Devils in two seasons.
Notre Dame Head Coach Bobby Clark saw things differently.
Using college soccer's unique substition rules to an advantage, Clark inserted Finley into his tactics 20 minutes into each game. Finley went on to score 28 goals, 21 of which came in 2012, despite not starting a single match in two seasons in South Bend.
"[Coming off the bench] was something I got used to," Finley explained. "The starters only played 20 minutes and I'd come on for 70 minutes, so it wasn't like I was playing only 30 minutes or anything. I was seeing an extended amount of time each game."
With Jairo Arrieta away with the Costa Rican National Team, Finley has the chance to start his first match in two years when the Black & Gold plays D.C. United on Saturday. The rookie is ready for whichever direction Head Coach Robert Warzycha decides to take on Saturday.
"I've played soccer for a long time," he said. "Whether I'm starting or coming off the bench, I think I can adapt my game and hopefully help the team out."