For the Crew's Boot Breast Cancer match against Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, winger Dominic Oduro showed up to the stadium sporting his latest hairdo: a pink mohawk with pink ribbons on the the sides of his head for Breast Cancer Awareness month. The design is no surprise as a Ghana flag, a Black & Gold Crew-hawk and various other designs have decorated Oduro's dome in weeks previous.
For more on Oduro's evolving hair, check out Andy Edwards' feature on MLSSoccer.com.
With his assist in the 4-2 victory over FC Dallas, Federico Higuain now has a club-leading nine assists in 2013. With 11 goals already in his clip, Higuain is one assist shy of becoming the second player in Crew history to record 10 or more goals and 10 or more assists in a single season. If he’s able to record a helper in one of the final three matches of 2013, he’d become the first player in 12 seasons to do so as Jeff Cunningham posted 10 goals and 13 assists in 2001.
The Crew has put together its first three-game winning streak of 2013 and has found plenty of scoring in the current stretch. The Black & Gold averaged three goals per game in that trio of wins, marking the first time since 2008 that the club posted a three- game winning streak while averaging three tallies per game in that span. In 2008, from August 23 to September 6, the Crew secured victories of 3-0, 2-1 and 4-0 while this year’s edition featured wins of 2-1, 3-0 and 4-2 from September 14 through September 29.
5, 2, 3
Dominic Oduro’s five game-winning goals in 2013 is currently in a seven-way tie for second-most in MLS this season behind Chris Wondolowski’s six game-winners. Oduro’s last three matches featured game-winning goals for the Crew as he recorded his second three-goal month of 2013 following a trio of goals in the month of April.
WE WANT MORE, WE WANT MORE
Winners of three in a row and four of its last five, the Crew enters the weekend hungry for more points with three games remaining ... with a bye weekend (Oct. 12) approaching, the Black & Gold need to secure key points against Sporting KC ... following the bye weekend, the Crew opens a home-and-home series with New England to finish the regular season ... in a 12-game stretch from June 15 against Montreal through August 31 against Seattle, the Crew secured four wins for a total of 12 points, or an average of one point per game ... conversely, in this current stretch of five games under Interim Head Coach Brian Bliss, the Crew also has four wins (12 points), but is averaging 2.4 points per game.
A SEPTEMBER TO REMEMBER
It was a whirlwind first month for Interim Head Coach Brian Bliss, taking over on September 2 before coaching his first match two days later in the 2-0 win over Houston on September 4 at Crew Stadium ... the winds of change brought the Crew success in September as the team registered 11 goals and 11 assists, marking the first time since 1998 that the team had posted 10 or more goals or 10 or more assists in the month of September ... the victories last month also marked the first four-win September for the Crew since 2004 ... last October, the Crew went 1-1-1 and just missed the 2012 postseason, falling a point behind Houston for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
ANOTHER DEFENSIVE PERFORMANCE
Certainly the Crew would have had a tough time securing four wins in five matches without a stretch of strong defensive performances ... over the last five matches, the club has recorded two shutouts and allowed a single goal to the then-Eastern Conference-leading Montreal Impact ... the club’s only loss in that stretch allowed three goals to Sporting KC on September 7 ... despite that three-goal match, the Black & Gold backline has allowed an average of just 1.2 goals per game under Interim Head Coach Brian Bliss.
United States U-18 Men's National Team Head Coach Javier Perez announced his 18-man roster for an upcoming four-team tournament in Limoges, France. Included in the roster are Crew Soccer Academy midfielder Ben Swanson and CSA Wolves' forward Ahinga Selemani.
The U.S. will face France, Czech Republic and Poland in the tournament that runs from October 9-13. This is the first major tournament for the cycle of players that will compete in the 2015 U-20 CONCACAF Championships with a goal of advancing to the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.
U.S. U-18 MNT ROSTER BY POSITION:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Jeff Caldwell (NC Fusion; Todd, N.C.), JT Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes; Alamo, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (5): Conor Donovan (Capital Area Railhawks Academy; Fuquay Varina, N.C.), Chase Gasper (Bethesda Olney; Alexandria, Va.), Shaquell Moore (IMG Academy; Powder Springs, Ga.), Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting KC; Lee’s Summit, Mo.), Tommy Redding (Chicago Magic; Oviedo, Fla.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Mukwelle Akale (Minnesota Thunder; Minneapolis, Minn.), Corey Baird (Real Salt Lake AZ; Escondido, Calif.), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham FC; Plano, Texas), Kyle Scott (Chelsea FC; Winterbourne, Bristol), Ben Swanson (Crew Soccer Academy; Grove City, Ohio), Tyler Turner (IMG Academy; Meriden, Conn.)
FORWARDS (5): Andrija Novakovich (Chicago Magic PSG; Muskego, Wis.), Rubio Rubin (FC Utrecht; Beaverton, Ore.), Ahinga Selemani (CSA Wolves; Ann Arbor, Mich.), Alan Winn (Solar Chelsea SC; Garland, Texas), Dembakwi Yomba (Concorde Fire; Lithona, Ga.)
Crew winger Ethan Finlay joined Joe Jewett on the CD102.5 Morning Show on Wednesday to talk about the major playoff implications that come with Saturday's clash against Sporting Kansas City.
Crew defender Tyson Wahl made a surprise visit to the final fall practice session of the Franklin County Special Olympics Soccer League. Wahl interacted with the participants and helped lead the group in several drills as they prepared for their end of the year tournament on Saturday, October 5.
The accolades keep mounting.
For the second consecutive week, Brian Bliss has been tabbed as the top coach in the League by MLSSoccer.com. Joining the Interim Head Coach on the Best XI for Week 31 are Chad Marshall, MLS Player of the Week Dominic Oduro and Federico Higuaín. The Crew is 4-1-0 under Bliss, while Marshall has stepped up to anchor the backline and Higuaín and Oduro have registered a combined five goals and four assists over the last three matches.
For a detalied roster, head over to MLSSoccer.com.
Following Sunday's convincing 4-2 victory over FC Dallas on the road, the Black & Gold shot up across three national media outlets' Power Rankings after Week 31. The Crew's biggest leap was five spots in ESPNFC's weekly poll to 10th place. Complete rankings are listed below.
MLSSoccer.com: 11th (13th)
ESPNFC: 10th (15th)
SI.com: 12th (14th)
The Crew will hope to learn from the mistakes it made in a 3-0 loss at Sporting Kansas City on September 7 when it hosts Peter Vermes' side on Saturday in search of its fourth-straight victory. Before the Black & Gold clash with Sporting, here is a look back at the last meeting between the two clubs.
An early penalty awarded to Sporting doomed the visiting Crew early as Claudio Bieler calmly converted from the spot. Later in the first half, Soony Saad found space in the box to make the deficit 2-0 just before halftime. Though the Crew's play improved in the second half, it wasn't enough to match Sporting's class on the evening as C.J. Sapong added a third for the home side in the 55th minute to hand Brian Bliss his first loss as Interim Head Coach.