Preview: Crew vs. Joe Public
CONCACAF Champions League, Group B, Match Day 6
Columbus Crew (3-2-0, 9 points, second in Group B) vs. Joe Public (0-4-1, 1 point, fourth in Group B ) at Marvin Lee Stadium in Macoya, Trinidad.
All-time series: Columbus lead 1-0.
8 p.m. ET, FSC; concacaf.com TV (live streaming video)
Both teams have nothing to play for in this last match. With important domestic games looming, intensity and concentration could be lacking except for those players looking to improve their stock with their coaches.
Columbus will finish second in the group behind Santos Laguna and have qualified for the quarterfinals for a second straight year.
Joe Public’s lone point came in the second game at Municipal, when substitute forward Micah Lewis scored in the 93rd minute for a 1-1 result.
The Crew defeated the Eastern Lions 3-0 on Sept. 14 in Crew Stadium. Leandre Griffit started the scoring in the 47th minute. Jason Garey followed five minutes later and Steven Lenhart came off the bench to add a goal in the 80th minute.
The Crew will be scoreboard-watching, and not for other CCL matches. They will be keeping an eye on the result between the New York Red Bulls and the New England Revolution at Red Bull Arena, a match that begins 30 minutes before Columbus and Joe Public kick off.
A New York win will secure first in the Eastern Conference over the Crew, who trail by a point. If the Red Bulls tie, then the Crew need a win Sunday against Philadelphia. A New York loss and a Columbus draw put them even, but the Crew hold the tiebreaker because they won both meetings in the series.
Crew coach Robert Warzycha is not happy that for the second straight year his team has a midweek away CCL game before the home season finale.
“Next time hopefully the schedule will be a little bit in favor of us,” he said.
The artificial surface may be advantageous to the home side. The Crew have two ties and a loss on the fake grass against MLS foes this year.
Also favoring the Eastern Lions is the Crew’s 0-2 road mark in the tournament, although both losses were by just one goal.
Joe Public play defending champion Defence Force for the First Citizens Cup title on Saturday after beating W Connection 3-1 on Oct. 15. After falling behind, the Eastern Lions got goals by Trent Noel, Yu Hoshide and Kerry Baptiste.
W Connection assistant coach Earl Jean said Joe Public was in better form because of the Champions League, while his club was on a long break from league play.
“In Joe Public’s case, they have been playing at the CONCACAF level and although the results are on the down for them, they have been playing competitive football,” he said.
Heroes & Villains
Micah Lewis vs. Andy Iro: The former Trinidad and Tobago Under-17 attacker has been the go-to player off the bench for a spark at Joe Public, but may start. Lewis could have a pivotal role going against the Crew's hulking center back.
Stat that makes you go “Hmm...”
Joe Public have been outscored 8-4 in losing CCL home games to Santos and Municipal.