Dan Haiek and Armchair Analyst Matt Doyle preview the Sunday afternoon match between Sporting KC and the Columbus Crew. Will Benny Feilhaber have space to operate against the Crew midfield? How will Columbus attack with Aurelien Collin missing the match? Find out Sunday at 4:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
The Black & Gold take on Sporting KC in the Crew’s lone nationally televised match on the NBC Sports Network. The Crew picked-up its first win on the network -- a 2-1 victory on March 23, 2013 at D.C. United -- the Black & Gold fell 1-0 to New York on May 4, 2013. Sunday marks the fifthe match for the Crew on NBC Sports Network after NBC partnered with MLS ahead of the 2012 season. In 2012, the Crew went 0-1-1 on NBCSN: losing 1-0 at Philadelphia on April 14 before playing to a 1-1 draw against LA on August 15 at Crew Stadium.
Here's a look back at the Crew's past four matches on the network.
April 14, 2012 - Crew at Philadelphia Union
August 15, 2012 - Crew vs. LA Galaxy
March 23, 2013 - Crew at D.C. United
May 4, 2013 - Crew vs. New York Red Bulls
Federico Higuain’s next match is set to be his 50th career appearance in MLS for the Crew. Higuain, who enters the weekend with 49 appearances and 47 starts, has scored 20 goals and 18 assists in his time in Columbus since arriving in August 2012. Five of his goals have been game-winners and six of his helpers secured a victory for the Black & Gold.
Federico Higuain is also just eight corner kicks shy of recording his 200th corner as a member of the Crew. Currently at 192 in 50 career games played, Higuain could be- come just the third player in Crew history to record 200 or more corner kicks. Robert Warzycha is the club’s all-time leader with 503 and Guillermo Barros Schelotto is in second with 423. Both players are finalists for the Crew’s 2014 Circle of Honor Induction. Higuain recorded eight corner kicks in a match earlier this season on March 29 at Seattle.
Last Saturday’s 1-1 draw marked a couple of Crew milestones for a goal-scoring duo. The match was Dominic Oduro’s 40th appearance in a Crew jersey. The Ghanaian has scored 13 times for the Black & Gold. In his 50th career game for the Crew, Jairo Arrieta scored his 14th goal for the Black & Gold with a penalty kick strike. Both players have three career goals against Sporting KC as members of the Crew.
RIDING A THREE-MATCH UNBEATEN STREAK ...
The Crew enters Sunday’s match with a three-match unbeaten streak following a trio of 1-1 draws the last three weekends ... after scoring a first-half goal in San Jose before finishing 1-1 on April 13, the Crew earned a point with a 90th-minute goal in the 1-1 result against D.C. United at home on April 19 ... last weekend against New York, the Crew came away with a point in the 1-1 result at Crew Stadium.
... AND CREW HISTORICALLY STRONG AFTER THREE STRAIGHT DRAWS
The Black & Gold enter Sunday’s match following three straight draws dating back to April 13 at San Jose ... it marks just the fifth time in club history -- and first time since 2009 -- that the team has played to a trio of consecutive deadlocked matches ... the Crew is perfect (3-0-1) in the the match immediately following three straight draws ... a look at those matches is below:
- May 9, 2009 – vs. Kansas City, W, 3-2
- April 28, 2007 – vs. DC United, W, 1-0
- July 4, 2006 – at Houston, T, 1-1
- July 28, 2004 – vs. FC Dallas, W, 2-1
LOOKING TO REVERSE FORTUNES AT SPORTING PARK
The Crew is 1-3-0 in the team’s previous four trips to Sporting Park and the Black & Gold look to change that trend on Sunday ... the team’s lone win came in 2012 with Jairo Arrieta’s two goals in the first half on July 28 ... Arrieta added a third goal in the venue last year on June 29 in the wild, back-and-forth 3-2 loss.
STILL UNBEATEN ON THE ROAD
The Crew opens a two-match road swing with a test against Sporting KC on Sunday before a midweek clash at Houston ... the Black & Gold enter the weekend unbeaten (2-0-1) in their first three road matches of 2014 ... the team’s road winning percentage (.833) is second in MLS this year behind Seattle (3-0-1, .875 winning percentage) ... the best road start for the Black & Gold occured in 2010 when Crew went unbeaten in its first five road matches, posting a 2-0-3 mark away from Crew Stadium.
Five-year-old Leukemia survivor Luke Brenner joined the rest of the Crew faithful at Crew Stadium last Saturday night to watch his favorite team take on New York. Luke and his family were there as guests of Matt Lampson and his LLS Hero program and had the opportunity to come down onto the field after the match to meet with the goalkeeper and many of his Black & Gold teammates.
Looking to continue the Hero program that Lampson started during the 2013 season, the goalkeeper will be working with LLS to invite a child and their family to every home and away match during the 2014 season.