MLSSoccer.com's Armchair Analyst Matt Doyle discusses the dos and don'ts of set pieces in this edition of Between the Lines.
Lesson learned: Mark Josh Williams.
UNBEATEN STREAK CONTINUES
The 1-1 draw on Sunday at Montreal extended the Crew’s modest unbeaten streak to four games (1-0-3) dating back to March 16 against San Jose ... the team’s last (and only) loss came when the Crew fell 2-1 in Vancouver on March 9, more than one month ago ... the Black & Gold are one of three teams with a current unbeaten streak of four or more games, joining Portland (4), Kansas City (4) and FC Dallas (5).
EASTERN CONFERENCE PERFECTIONISTS
This weekend’s match in Chicago also puts the Black & Gold’s perfect Eastern Conference record on the line ... following a 1-1 draw at Montreal last Sunday, the Crew is now 1-0-2 in Eastern Conference play this season after opening 2013 with three straight Western Conference matches (1-1-1).
ROAD SWING WRAPS-UP
The Black & Gold return to the road this weekend for their fifth away match in seven contests thus far in 2013 ... although the Crew has yet to win at home (0-0-2), the team has been able to secure key road wins after posting a 2-1-1 record away from home thus far ... after Saturday, the Crew plays its next three straight matches at home: April 27 vs. D.C., May 4 vs. New York and May 11 vs. Colorado.
Saturday's match vs. Chicago Fire will be carried LIVE and for FREE on MLSsoccer.com as the el Jimador Tequila MLS Stream of the Week.
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Following Sunday's 1-1 draw in Montreal, the Crew moved up in three out of five national media outlets' Power Rankings. The biggest move for the Black & Gold was in ESPNFC's rankings, jumping two spots from 11th to the ninth spot.
MLSSoccer.com: 6th (5th)
Sports Illustrated: 8th (9th)
ProSoccerTalk: 10th (10th)
ESPNFC: 9th (11th)
SoccerByIves: 8th (9th)
The Crew and Chicago Fire renew their rivalry this weekend at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill. Here is a look back at how the series played out in 2012.
First half goals from Eddie Gaven and Emilio Rentería moved the Crew's spring unbeaten streak to five matches as the Black & Gold beat the Fire back on May 26 of last year 2-1. Celtic punk band Flogging Molly celebrated the win with a post-match concert on the Crew Stadium main stage.
The Crew couldn't fight back from an early-two goal deficit as Marco Pappa and Dominic Oduro tallied for the Fire within the first 30 minutes. Tony Tchani got one back for the Black & Gold shortly after Gonzalo Segares was sent off in the 29th minute. However, the Crew failed to find an equalizer despite playing against 10 men for 61 minutes.
Jairo Arrieta's aggressiveness gave the Crew an early advantage, as the Costa Rican pick-pocketed Fire 'keeper Sean Johnson to put the Crew ahead at the 15 minute mark. Columbus couldn't hold the lead however, as two Chris Rolfe tallies within three minutes of each other ultimately spelled doom for the Black & Gold.
Head Coach Robert Warzycha
Dominic Oduro on his match-tying goal
Andy Gruenebaum on team's performance
Chad Marshall talks post-match on the 1-1 draw
Radio voice of the Columbus Crew Neil Sika previews Sunday's matchup with Montreal. Neil describes the weather situation in Quebec that caused the match to be pushed back to Sunday and what the mood of the team is like with an extra day on the road.
Catch all of the action on Sunday starting at 11:35 a.m. with the Crew Pre-Game Show on 106.7 FM.
GOALS GONE WILD ON THE ROAD
Headed up against the Eastern Conference-leading Montreal Impact, the Crew does have an advantage when it comes to road success in 2013. The Black & Gold lead MLS in road goals with six through three away matches ... after scoring three goals to open the year at Chivas USA (March 2) the Crew has continued to score on the road with a single goal in the 2-1 loss at Vancouver (March 9) before netting a pair in the 2-1 win at D.C. (March 23).
GRUENEBAUM TESTED AND DELIVERING
Through five games this season, Andy Gruenebaum is one of eight MLS goalkeepers with a goals against average of 1.00 or less ... six of those ‘keepers -- including Gruenebaum -- have started in each of their team’s matches ... not only has the 30-year-old Crew netminder seen the third-most shots of the eight ‘keepers with a 1.00 GAA or less, but Gruenebaum also has recorded 15 saves -- a feat only three others on that list have accomplished ... the list of the six aforementioned ‘keepers is below:
BACK TO CANADA FOR THE CREW
Saturday’s trip to Montreal is the Crew’s second trip to Canada in 2013 and 11th overall regular-season match north of the border ... although the Black & Gold fell 2-1 to Vancouver on March 9, the Crew has secured points in eight of the 10 previous meetings up North and is 3-2-5 in those Canadian-hosted matches ... in addition to the 1-1-0 record at Vancouver, Columbus is unbeaten (2-0-5) in seven matches at Toronto FC ... prior to the early-season loss at Whitecaps FC, the club’s only previous Canadian blemish was a 2-1 loss to Montreal on July 8, 2012 in the inaugural visit to Stade Saputo ... additional Ohio ties to Canada include rookie defender Drew Beckie who was born in Regina, Saskatchewan.
FINDING THE BACK OF THE NET
After being shut out in two of the team’s first five matches in 2012, the Crew has scored in each of its first five matches this season ... the Black & Gold are among five other teams that have not been shut out in 2013 ... that list includes FC Dallas, LA, Philadelphia, Portland and Vancouver ... Chivas USA has not been shut out since the Black & Gold blanked the Goats 3-0 in the season-opener on March 2.
The Crew has provided plenty of second-half excitement thus far in 2013 as the club has scored seven of of its eight goals after halftime ... Josh Williams scored the team’s only first-half goal in the 15th minute at D.C. on March 23 ... as a point of comparison, last season the Black & Gold recorded 21 of their 34 goals after the second-half whistle ... this year, the Crew has seen goals just seconds into the second half (Arrieta, 46’ at VAN on 3/9) as well as an insurance goal in second-half stoppage time (Oduro, 94+’ at CHV on 3/2).