On a sunny Wednesday afternoon in Obetz, the Crew defeated Dayton Dutch Lions FC by a 5-1 score in a friendly scrimmage.
The match was an opportunity for select Black & Gold players to stay sharp as well as to continue fostering the relationship with the club's USL-PRO affiliate. Ben Speas notched two goals for the Crew and guest trainee Kelechi Iheanacho of Manchester City added a hat trick. Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter said that Iheanacho, 17, is training with the Crew to maintain fitness before rejoining the Barclays Premier League side in mid-October.
"It's been unfortunate that we haven't had enough reserve games for the guys that haven't been playing," said Berhalter. "This is an opportunity for them to get game time. We did that in an abbreviated form [with two 35-minute halves]. Overall, I thought it was helpful. Guys like Hector [Jimenez], Jairo [Arrieta], Daniel [Paladini], Kevan [George] -- to give them some minutes -- Chad [Barson], all the guys, it was definitely worthwhile."
George and Paladini also started together in the holding midfield role. Both are candidates to start on Sunday against Chivas USA in the absences of Wil Trapp and Tony Tchani due to yellow-card accumulation.
"I thought [the pairing] was good. I thought they controlled the game from the middle," said the Crew boss. "Defensively, they were both good. I was pleased."
Neil Sika joins Matt Finkes every Wednesday for Sika the Truth on 95.5 The Game.
The Crew took a small slide in national Power Rankings after its 2-0 loss in Montreal on Saturday, but the Black & Gold have a strong chance to rebound with a home clash on Sunday against Chivas USA (3:00 p.m. ET / Time Warner Cable SportsChannel).
See below for this week's rankings with last week's position indicated afterward:
ESPNFC: 11 (10)
SI.com: 10 (9)
MLSsoccer.com: 9 (8)
Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Images
Brad Stuver had another productive week for Wilmington, going unbeaten and allowing just one goal over two matches for the Hammerheads. On Thursday, August 28 he helped Wilmington defeat Orlando City SC by a 3-1 final score. Two days later, he kept a clean sheet in a 0-0 draw against Sacramento Republic FC. Stuver has now started seven matches for the Hammerheads, compiling a 1.43 goals-against average. The goalkeeper was also named to the league's Team of the Week for his efforts.
Elsewhere in USL-PRO, Crew loanee Ross Friedman returned for Dayton after missing two matches, starting and playing 40 minutes in a 7-0 loss to Orlando City SC. Matt Wiet also started for the Dutch Lions in the contest.
Photo Credit: Kirby Hines
Ashleigh Ignelzi joins Matt Finkes on The BIG Show to talk all things Black & Gold on Massive Monday.
Federico Higuain leads MLS in corner kicks this season (104). His career high for a single season was 123 last year. Overall, Higuain is third on the Crew’s all-time list for corners, trailing Robert Warzycha (503) and Guillermo Barros Schelotto (423).
Tony Tchani leads MLS in passes attempted this season (1,496). He ranks second in successful passes (1,273). Wil Trapp is fourth in MLS in both categories.
In 630 total minutes of action in the all-time, regular-season series between the Crew and the Impact, the Black & Gold have outscored Montreal 12-6. Six players have found the net for the Crew with Dominic Oduro’s three tallies against the Impact in 2013 leading the way. Chad Marshall, Milovan Mirosevic and most recently Bernardo Anor have each scored two goals for Columbus in the series. The Black & Gold’s Argentine maestro Federico Higuaín leads the club with four assists against the Impact. In contrast, just three players have scored the six goals for the Impact -- four of those strikes have come from the foot of Designated Player Marco Di Vaio.
BACK ON THE ROAD
After a three-game homestand, the Black & Gold return to the road for a test at Montreal this weekend ... since June 7, the Crew has secured at least one point on the road in four of its last five away tilts, including a two-match road unbeaten streak that began with a win at New England on July 26 ... after this weekend, the Crew plays just one road match in the month of September -- a clash at Houston on the 13th -- before a three-match road swing to open the month of October.
SECOND AND FINAL TRIP NORTH OF THE BORDER IN 2014
After five trips to Canada in 2013, the Crew makes just its second -- and final -- trip to Canada in 2014 this Saturday ... the upcoming trip to Montreal is the Crew’s 16th overall regular-season match north of the border ... although the Black & Gold fell to Toronto on May 31, 2014, the Crew has secured points in 11 of the 15 previous meetings up North and is 5-4-6 in those Canadian-hosted matches ... Columbus is 3-2-5 in 10 matches at Toronto FC, has a 1-1-0 record at Vancouver and is 1-1-1 in Montreal ... additional Ohio ties to Canada include Assistant Coach Pat Onstad ... Onstad’s extensive Canadian ties are available on his bio at TheCrew.com.
Entering the week, 23 players in MLS have recorded four goals and four assists for their clubs in 2014 ... thanks to the recent offensive outburst from Ethan Finlay and Justin Meram, Finlay (6 goals, 4 assists) and Meram (5 goals, 4 assists) join Federico Higuain (9 goals, 6 assists) on the Crew as the only club within this group to have three players with at least four tallies and four helpers ... LA, Philadelphia, Seattle, Chicago, Real Salt Lake and Houston each have two players within that group while New York, Vancouver, Portland, FC Dallas, Toronto FC and Colorado have just one player with at least four strikes and four assists.