Federico Higuain continues to lead MLS in corner kicks this season (119). His career high for a single season was 123 last year, which he is on-pace to potentially break. Overall, Higuain is third on the Crew’s all-time list for corners, trailing Robert Warzycha (503) and Guillermo Barros Schelotto (423).
Always looking to create, Federico Higuain ranks second in Major League Soccer in passes in the final third with 659. Higuain trails Javier Morales (652) of Real Salt lake by just three passes in the final third entering this week.
Crew captain Michael Parkhurst continues to lead Major League Soccer this season in passing accuracy among all defenders that have played at least 20 matches this season. The MLS All-Star has completed 87.53 percent of his passes and has worn the armband in 26 tilts for the Black & Gold in 2014.
LOOKING FOR FIRST WIN IN DYNAMO’S NEW HOME
The Black & Gold return to BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday for the second time in 2014 ... after falling in the first match in Houston -- a 1-0 Dynamo win on May 7 -- the Crew looks to secure its first win at the Dynamo venue that opened in 2012 ... in the three previous meetings at the venue, the Crew (0-2-1) has battled, with losses coming in just one or two-goal margins on top of the draw in the first meeting on August 19, 2012.
FIVE GAMES, FIVE GOALS FOR MERAM
Justin Meram has been on a scoring tear, registering five goals over the last five matches dating back to August 9 against Toronto FC ... Meram recorded a tally in three straight matches from August 9 - August 23 and returned with a brace following the shutout loss at Montreal.
MERAM MAGIC ...
Justin Meram scored his seventh goal of the season to open the scoring in 3-0 win over Chivas USA on September 7 … Meram has scored a goal in four of the club’s last five matches ... of Meram’s 12 career goals since 2011, seven of them have come in 2014.
... AND JUSTIN HAS BEEN PRODUCTIVE
Of midfielders in MLS that have played at least 20 games this season, Justin Meram enters the week ranked first in minutes per goal scored (165.43) ... a look at Opta numbers is below, showing that Meram has scored once every 1.8 matches for the Crew.
**Numbers entering the week as of 9/8/14
Sunday against Chivas USA, the Columbus Crew achieved a feat it had done just eight other times in club history: register three separate three-goal performances over a four-match span. Excluding overlaps, the club has only been on a stretch of this nature just four other times since its inaugural season in 1996.
Here is a table of every stretch where the Crew has bundled three separate three-goal performances over a four-match span in club history:
Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Images
Neil Sika joins Matt Finkes on 95.5 The Game for Sika The Truth every Wednesday.
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
For his brace in the Crew's 3-0 win at home over Chivas USA on Sunday, winger Justin Meram was named to MLSsoccer.com's Team of the Week for Week 26 of MLS action. The honor makes for the University of Michigan product's second appearance on the Team of the Week in 2014 following his goal and assist on August 23 against Houston.
Brad Stuver's run of strong play for the Wilmington Hammerheads continued over the previous week. Over three matches played, the Crew loanee went 1-1-1 in goal with two clean sheets and just two goals conceded over the span.
Stuver began yet another busy week by blanking Orlando City SC to the tune of a 0-0 draw on Wednesday, September 3. On Friday, September 5, the former Cleveland State Viking traveled to Dayton and faced his fellow Black & Gold loanees Matt Walker, Ross Friedman, Matt Wiet and Ben Sweat, who all started for the Dutch Lions in a 4-0 Hammerheads win. Stuver concluded the week by dropping a 2-0 decision to the Rochester Rhinos.
The match against Wilmington was the final contest of the season for Dayton, which finishes 2014 with a 6-18-4 record. As such, all Crew loanees have returned to training with the Black & Gold on a regular basis. Wilmington finished the regular season with a 9-8-11 record, qualifying for the playoffs as the number-seven seed. The club is set to face Sacramento Republic FC in the first round of the postseason.
Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Images