With his three shots against San Jose last Sunday (April 13), forward Dominic Oduro now has 99 shots as a member of the Crew. Oduro has made seven shots in the young 2014 season and his career-best 92 shots in 2013 helped boost him to a career-high 13 goals.
Three players are quickly approaching the milestone of 50 games played for the Crew. Bernardo Anor has only one more game left until he hits the 50-game mark, which he could earn against DC United on Saturday. Tony Tchani has 48 games under his belt as a member of the Crew and will look to complete his 50th game for the Crew as early as next weekend against New York Red Bulls (April 26). Federico Higuain currently has 47 Crew games played and would be looking for his 50th Columbus Crew match potentially against Sporting Kansas City on May 4.
Crew defender Michael Parkhurst hit a career milestone of 120 games played in MLS last Sunday. Parkhurst has played five games for the Crew in 2014 and totaled 115 games from 2005-08 with the New England Revolution before departing Europe for five years.
The five finalists for the 2014 induction into the Crew Circle of Honor are set to be made on Saturday following the conclusion of stage one voting on Saturday at noon. A complete list of candidates and criteria for entry is available at TheCrew.com.
After serving as a rotational player in his first two seasons with the Crew, Tony Tchani is now playing a major role in the Black & Gold's early success in 2014 as a force in the Columbus midfield.
WIth the fresh perspective of first-year Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter, Tchani knew he'd have his chance to be a regular starter in 2014. However, it was no easy task as the Cameroonian-born midfielder fought through a preseason injury to earn a spot in Berhalter's starting XI.
"Tony had a little bit of an injury in the beginning of the season and he just kept fighting, kept working through it," Berhalter said of the midfielder. "He's been doing great. "
Added Tchani: "I always try to work hard every day to prove to the new coach that I deserve to be [in the starting lineup]. It wasn't easy. In the offseason I had an injury, but now it's fine. I got lucky that I got to play a few preseason games to show the coaching staff that I deserve to be out there."
Paired with Wil Trapp centrally, Tchani has helped the Crew midfield become one of MLS's best in keeping possession. The key, Tchani says, is the understanding he has with his running mate.
"We're playing so well because Wil is a guy that likes to sit and I'm like a box-to-box guy," he said. "I like being next to Wil when we're playing defense. When we're on offense, I'm a little bit higher. It's worked pretty well so far. "
Tchani's play on the field has resulted in-part thanks to the confidence Berhalter has instilled in him. Hailed as a "players' coach" when he was hired in November, Berhalter has found a way to get the most of each player in his squad.
"He's a coach that is always coming in and talking to the guys," Tchani said of his coach. "Not only the starters, but also the guys that may not play or the guys on the bench. He always talks to the guys and makes them comfortable. He makes the guys feel like they all have a chance. If someone else is not playing, it's their turn to step up and do the same job."
Even Tchani's teammates have taken notice of his increased role and the leadership that has come of it.
"He's matured as a player," Josh Williams complimented Tchani. "That's something I think Gregg had something to do with, he had a big part of it: just staying focused for 90 minutes, just always being there picking up his teammates. In the center of the park, you have to be a leader of some sort. He's not much of a vocal kind of guy. He just let's his play do the talking.
"He's been more of a leader, a field general."
Matt Lampson teamed up with San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Sam Cronin Sunday afternoon to give two San Jose area families a memorable trip to Buck Shaw Stadium.
Cherry Aslorona and Maria Naranjo were honored as LLS Heroes watched the match and then made their way to the field for the final minutes before meeting with both Cronin and Lampson post-match.
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.
The Crew remain near the top of this week's Power Rankings following its 1-1 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes. The Black & Gold's highest mark is on Sports Illustrated's Planet Fútbol list, coming in at the number two spot behind Real Salt Lake. See the full rankings below.
MLSsoccer.com: 5 (4)
ESPNFC: 6 (5)
Steve Clark's diving save against Chris Wondolowski is nominated for MLS Save of the Week honors. Clark is up against Chivas USA's Dan Kennedy, LA's Jaime Penedo, FC Dallas' Chris Seitz and D.C. United's Andrew Dykstra for the top save of Week Six.
Voting runs until 11:59 p.m. PT on Thursday.
For his performance against the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday, Federico Higuaín was named to MLSsoccer.com's Team of the Week for Week Six. With four goals and six assists already this season, Higuaín has earned Team of the Week honors three times through five matches in 2014.
Federico Higuaín's tally against the San Jose Earthquakes is nominated for AT&T Goal of the Week for Week Six of the MLS season. Higuaín finished off a beautiful build-up out of the back that culminated in a cross from the left flank to an open Higuaín by Waylon Francis.
The Argentine is up against Seattle's Clint Dempsey, LA's Robbie Keane, Portland's Will Johnson and Philadelphia's Andrew Wenger for this week's honor.
Voting runs until 11:59 p.m. PT on Thursday.