Steve Clark made his second penalty kick save of the season with the stop of Marco Di Vaio of Montreal last weekend to preserve the shutout, his eighth of the season. The save led the Crew to a 2-0 victory. Clark has allowed just one goal in the club’s last five home contests, back in the 49th minute of the August 16 match against the LA Galaxy, or 410 minutes of Crew Stadium action ago.
On July 19, the Crew was victorious against the Montreal Impact before heading to New England on July 26 where the club secured a 2-1 win. Since that July 19 tilt, in the last 11 contests, the Crew is 7-2-2 and the club is unbeaten (3-0-1) since the beginning of September.
Ethan Finlay recorded his fourth game-winning goal of the year last weekend with his second-minute blast that helped the Crew to a 2-0 victory. Finlay is one of six players in MLS this year under the age of 25 to record at least four game-winning tallies in regular-season action. That list includes Chivas USA’s Erick “Cubo” Torres (4), Real Salt Lake’s Joao Plata (4), Houston’s Will Bruin (5), LA’s Gyasi Zardes (6) and Sporting KC’s Dom Dwyer (6).
CREW WITH SUCCESS AGAINST NEW ENGLAND ...
Saturday’s meeting will be the 63rd regular-season clash between the two teams, the Crew’s most-faced opponent during the season since 1996 ... after a pair of wins over New England already this season, the Crew’s 31 wins (31-20-11) against the Revs are the most versus any opponent in Black & Gold history, more than D.C. United (24 wins against), New York (24 wins against) or Sporting KC (21 wins).
... AND A STRONG STRETCH AGAINST THE REVS HAS HELPED
Although the Revs won the regular-season series in 2013 with three victories, the Black & Gold have found success against the Revs over the last eight seasons, capturing the 2014 regular-season series after a pair of wins on July 26 and September 20 ... ... in the last 20 meetings, dating back to 2007, the Crew is 10-6-4 against the Revs ... during that stretch, the Revs won the regular-season series once: last year ... other than that, the Crew has won the regular-season series now five times and the two teams have split results two other times ... from 1996 through 2000, and again from 2002 through 2006, the two conference foes met four times a year.
CRUCIAL ROAD TRIPS FOR CREW
Fresh off of a six-point homestand, the Crew is on the road for three consecutive weekends before closing-out the regular-season in a home clash against the Philadelphia Union on October 26 ... the Crew was victorious in its last trip to New England on July 26 (2-1), fell to New York on July 12 (1-4) and has yet to make a trip to Philadelphia in 2014 ... overall, the Crew is 3-5-6 on the road in 2014 and the team has secured at least a point in three of its last four road clashes overall.
ABOVE THE RED LINE
Entering the week, the Crew remains above the red line with four tilts to go in regular-season action ... currently, the Black & Gold sit in the fourth slot in the Eastern Conference in the push for the MLS Cup Playoffs, two points ahead of fifth-place New York and three points ahead of onlookers Toronto FC ... the Black & Gold are just two points behind second-place New England ... all four remaining contests for the Crew this year are against Eastern Conference opponents as the club plays Philadelphia twice and once at New York after this weekend.
Steve Clark's diving stop to deny the Montreal Impact's Marco Di Vaio from the penalty spot in stoppage time of last week's 2-0 win earned 38.69% of the vote to win Week 29's Save of the Week honor on MLSsoccer.com. Clark's leaping save of Calum Mallace's long-range attempt finished second in the poll, earning 24.64% of the votes.
The Crew has beaten the New England Revolution twice this season, but it's now the third and final meeting of the regular season that is proving to be the most meaningful. Winger Ethan Finlay, who scored the game-winning goal the last time the Black & Gold played at Gillette Stadium, maintains that organization will be the key for the Crew on Saturday.
"It's our defensive shape, staying compact," said Finlay. "This is a good team. When you look at that midfield, they want to play soccer and they have some dangerous pieces up top. Our shape has to be very compact and we have to look to find the spaces behind them going forward."
Finlay also stressed that the Crew was ready for the month of October and knows the task at hand.
Hear more from Finlay in the Black & Gold Breakdown, set to be released later today on TheCrew.com.
Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Images
In 2014, the Columbus Crew has set an all-time club record with five sellouts at Crew Stadium. Another sign of the explosion of soccer both in this city and nationwide, the Black & Gold's five sellouts are more than New York, Chicago, New England, Montreal, D.C. and Houston in the Eastern Conference, and more than Chivas USA, Colorado, Dallas and LA in the Western Conference. But most importantly, at home, great crowd support has led to wins.
In the Crew's five sellouts this season, the Black & Gold are 4-0-1 with an aggregate score of 9-2:
|FC Dallas||6/29/14||D, 0-0||20,617*|
|LA Galaxy||8/16/14||W, 4-1||20,729|
|New England||9/20/14||W, 1-0||21,318|
*Match delayed one day, officially recorded as sellout.
The Crew's 7-2-2 record over its last 11 matches, capped off by a 2-0 win over Montreal on Saturday, has resulted in a sharp rise in the national Power Rankings. The Black & Gold jumped an average of three spots in each of the polls.
See below for Columbus' exact placement with last week's rank indicated:
MLSsoccer.com: 7 (10)
ESPNFC: 7 (11)
SI.com: 8 (10)
Photo Credit: Betke/TheCrew.com