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The Crew is returning home for the first time since September 27, when it defeated the Montreal Impact by a final score of 2-0 ... overall, the Black & Gold are 5-0-0 in their last five home clashes and 6-1-0 over their last seven ... the Crew has outscored its last five home opponents by an aggregate scoreline of 13-1 ... goalkeeper Steve Clark has kept a clean sheet in each of his last four home outings.
Ethan Finlay’s strike in the 34th minute against New York held up as the game-winner last Sunday ... the goal brought Finlay’s game-winning goals tally to five in 2014 ... the winger is now one of nine players to record at least five game-winning goals this season ... he joins New England’s Lee Nguyen, LA’s Gyasi Zardes, Seattle’s Clint Dempsey and Houston’s Will Bruin as the only Americans to accomplish the feat this season.
TCHANI EXTENDS ASSISTS MARK
Tony Tchani notched another assist against New York last weekend, taking his season total to six helpers ... that amount represents a new career-best for the Cameroonian in the category, exploding past the three assists he recorded in 2010 with the New York Red Bulls ... Tchani has recorded assists in three consecutive games for the first time in his MLS career ... the midfielder also has four assists over his last three contests alone.
Wil Trapp was just a high schooler when the Crew claimed its 2008 MLS Cup title anchored in part by Brian Carroll's play in central midfield. While it was Guillermo Barros Schelotto's playmaking magic that caught Trapp's eye at the time, the 21-year-old looks back now at Carroll's presence on the field in admiration as he gets set to face the Black & Gold's former midfield stalwart, now with the Philadelphia Union, for the first time as a pro on Saturday (6:00 p.m. ET / TICKETS).
"I guess I didn't watch him as much as I should've back then, I was more focused on guys like Schelotto," Trapp admitted at the Crew's media day on Thursday. "Now that I look back, I think his leadership qualities and the way he gets the ball, moves it and keeps the tempo and rhythm in the game is huge. He did that for the team that won in 2008.
"I think that's something I can bring to the table, but I can also improve on."
Carroll missed the Union's match against the New England Revolution due to illness; the 32-year-old veteran could be back in Philadelphia's lineup for Saturday's match.
Aside from FC Dallas forward Kenny Cooper's five tallies, no other player has scored more goals against the Philadelphia Union than Crew striker Dominic Oduro since the Union was added to MLS as an expansion side in 2010. Oduro has scored four times in eight career appearances against the Union, joining Cooper and former Crew and current San Jose Earthquakes forward Steven Lenhart as the only players to record four tallies versus Philadelphia. Three of Oduro's four strikes against the Union were scored during his spell with the Chicago Fire during the 2011 and 2012 seasons, while his latest tally versus Philadelphia came back on April 6 when the Black & Gold tied the Union 1-1 at Crew Stadium.
MOST GOALS AGAINST PHILADELPHIA UNION
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The Crew will meet up with the Philadelphia Union for the second time this season on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET / Univision Deportes, FOX Sports Ohio) in a pivotal Eastern Conference matchup. Before the Black & Gold make their only trip to the City of Brotherly Love this season, here is a look back at the Crew's 1-1 draw with the Union on April 6 in Columbus.
An unmarked Jack McInerney tapped his third goal of the season into an open net from a Danny Cruz-led offensive to give the Union the lead after 34 minutes. Not to be denied a point at home, Eddie Gaven slotted a perfectly-weighted pass to an in-stride Dominic Oduro for a tight-angled finish in the 72nd minute to keep the Crew unbeaten at home against Philadelphia.
The Crew will face the Philadelphia Union for the first time in 2013 on Saturday. The three meetings between the two sides last season provided plenty of drama and fireworks as the Black & Gold won two of the three matches.
Last year's series began in Philadelphia in a nationally televised clash on NBC Sports Network. An unfortunate handball from Eric Gehrig in the area led to a Union penalty. Gabriel Gómez converted from the spot for the match's only tally to lift the home side to victory. Eddie Gaven, Chad Marshall and Andy Gruenebaum are the only holdovers from the starting XI in last year's tilt expected to be in the lineup on Saturday.
In a return to PPL Park, defender Carlos Valdes put the Union ahead in the first half when his free kick took a deflection off the Crew wall to beat Matt Lampson in goal. Josh Williams equalized with his first career goal just before halftime. Later in the second half, the defender was sent off after an altercation with Union forward Antoine Hoppenot to leave the Black & Gold with 10 men for the final 22 minutes of the match. After fending off a flurry of Philadelphia attempts on goal in the late moments of the game, newcomer Federico Higuaín orchestrated an attack that ended with Eddie Gaven burying Justin Meram's final pass into an empty net in the 95th minute to earn the Crew three points on the road.
A month following Gaven's stoppage time heroics, the two clubs met at Crew Stadium in a late September goal fest. Jairo Arrieta netted a brace to give the Black & Gold a 2-0 cushion after 50 minutes. The Union battled back, as Hoppenot drew a penalty in the 65th minute that Danny Cruz converted to cut the deficit in half. Later in the 86th minute, Jack McInerney equalized on a one-touch tally from a Roger Torres cross. Just a minute later, Milovan Mirosevic netted the late winner to keep the Crew's playoff hopes alive heading into October. The winning tally was shrouded in controversy as Mirosevic appeared to be offside, but the linesman's flag remained down.