CHANCE TO AVENGE LAMAR HUNT U.S. OPEN CUP LOSS
The Black & Gold defeated the Fire on May 24 in the last League meeting between the two sides, but the Crew was eliminated from the 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in the Fifth Round by the Chicago Fire after a thrilling 4-2 match that required 120 minutes of action on June 25 at Toyota Park ... the Fire went ahead 1-0 in the first half through a Patrick Ianni goal, who scored off of a free kick from Harry Shipp ... after halftime, the Crew subbed Jairo Arrieta into the match, who leveled the contest with a stunning bicycle kick in the 55th minute ... 15 minutes later, Bernardo Anor put the Crew ahead 2-1, but Chicago leveled once more in the 83rd minute through Juan Luis Anangono ... with the match deadlocked at 2-2 after 90 minutes, extra-time was required. Chicago found a pair of goals in the 92nd and 108th minutes to seal the victory ... in the 92nd minute, Quincy Amarikwa scored after a series of crosses by Chicago, a tally that would hold-up as the match-winner ... Anangono added an insur- ance goal in the 108th minute to seal the victory for the home side.
TRYING TO TURN THE HEAT UP AGAINST THE FIRE
The Crew has recorded back-to-back wins against the Fire in the regular-season dating back to 2013 as the Black & Gold look to turn the tides against the Fire ... the team’s 3-0 win against Chicago in September 2013 snapped a four-match losing streak against the Fire ... Chicago has had the Crew’s number in six of the last nine overall regular-season meetings (6-3-0) and the Crew must now travel to Toyota Park after playing the last three regular-season contests at Crew Stadium.
LOTS OF ONE-GOAL GAMES CREW-FIRE TILTS OF LATE
Seven of the last nine regular-season meetings between the longtime rivals have resulted in one-goal matches, providing plenty of drama in regular-season play ... Chi- cago is 6-3-0 in the current span, with the Black & Gold securing a 2-1 win on May 26, 2012 at Crew Stadium ... perhaps a new trend is on the rise, as the the two matches with multiple-goal margin in the last nine meetings were a 3-0 win on September 21, 2013 in Columbus and the most recent meeting: a 2-0 Crew win at Crew Stadium on May 24.
QUITE THE 10-MATCH CLIP
With his game-winning goal on Saturday in New England, Ethan Finlay has scored a goal or an assist in seven of the last 10 League matches he’s played in dating back to May 17 at Portland ... Finlay scored his first career tally in Oregon before returning home for a second goal against Chicago on May 24 ... on May 31 in Toronto, Finlay added an assist on Justin Meram’s tally to open the scoring before scoring on June 4 ... the Crew was held scoreless in the 0-0 draw on June 7 and Finlay missed action on June 29 after recovering from an appendectomy ... he returned with the team’s lone goal in the 1-1 draw at Colorado on July 4 ... Finlay also assisted Adam Bedell’s goal in the July 12 match at New York.
Crew Designated Player Federico Higuain now has 23 goals and 21 assists to his name in 60 regular-season games. With his goal off of a free kick in New England last weekend, Higuain is now tied with Brian Maisonneuve for eighth all-time on the Crew’s scoring list. Next on the list is Dante Washington in seventh place with 28 goals. Jeff Cunningham leads all Crew scorers in club history with 64 tallies for the Black & Gold.
Ethan Finlay scored the game-winning goal on Saturday at New England and was assisted by Justin Meram who had just come on as a sub. It was the second consecu- tive match game-winning goal in the 75th minute or later and the third overall this season. The first came on the March 29 win at Seattle off the foot of Justin Meram in the 94th. Ethan Finlay has most recently provided a pair of game-tying goals in the 75th minute or later, including equalizers on June 4 against Real Salt Lake (88’) and on July 4 at Colorado (76’).
Toyota Park has not been a kind venue to the Crew in recent years. The team’s lone win at the Fire’s new home was in 2006 and the Crew has gone 0-6-4 since the begin- ning of the 2007 season. The match is Gregg Berhalter’s first regular-season match at Toyota Park after playing a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match in the stadium in June.
Columbus Crew players Wil Trapp and Josh Williams teamed up this week with Columbus Metropolitan Library branches in Gahanna and Reynoldsburg to read soccer themed books and to talk to children about the importance of reading. The readings come just days before the Crew launches its Get a Kick Out of Reading program that runs during the month of August.
Matt Lampson continued his LLS Hero program through a busy month of July by meeting with many special Heroes and their families. To date, Lampson has honored 18 Heroes at Crew matches.
Continuing the Hero program that Lampson started during the 2013 season, the goalkeeper will work with LLS to invite a child and his or her family to every home and away match during the 2014 season.
Consecutive victories have vaulted the Crew into MLS Cup Playoff position in the Eastern Conference, and national writers have noticed.
The Black & Gold have risen in all three of the major national Power Rankings rundowns. See below for the Crew's position, with the previous week's rank noted afterward:
MLSsoccer.com: 13 (15)
SI.com: 14 (15)
ESPNFC: 13 (15)
Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Images