PREVIEW: Crew vs. Union

Battle for First Place in the East as Crew take on Union

A crucial clash for leadership atop the Eastern Conference is ahead on
Saturday night with the Columbus Crew play host to Philadelphia Union at
Crew Stadium. The Crew lead the division by three points ahead of Union
after their third win in four games, a 3-1 home win against New
England. Philadelphia is coming off a third draw in a row, last a 2-2
result with FC Dallas at home last weekend.

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REFEREE: Mark Kadlecik. SAR (bench): Chris Strickland; JAR (opposite): Peter Balciunas; 4th: Allen Chapman
MLS Career: 12 games; FC/gm: 22.8; Y/gm: 3.1; R: 3; pens: 3

INJURY REPORT: COLUMBUS CREW – OUT: MF Tony Tchani
(R knee inflammation); DF Shaun Francis (L adductor strain); DOUBTFUL:
GK Alex Riggs (L oblique strain); MF Eddie Gaven (R lower leg
contusion); Jeff Cunningham (R knee inflammation); QUESTIONABLE: MF
Dejan Rusmir (L calf tightness); MF Rich Balchan (L adductor strain);
PROBABLE: FW Emilio Renteria (L quad strain) …

PHILADELPHIA UNION – DOUBTFUL: MF Brian Carroll (R
foot contusion); QUESTIONABLE: FW Levi Houapeu (L ankle strain);
PROBABLE: MF Michael Farfan (R quad contusion)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: CLB: Julius James … PHI: Brian Carroll, Carlos Valdes, Sheanon Williams
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CLB: Kevin Burns, Tommy Heinemann, Sebastian Miranda, Dejan Rusmir, Tony Tchani … PHI: Danny Califf, Danny Mwanga

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (2 meetings): Crew 2 wins, 5 goals … Union 0 wins, 2 goals … Ties 0
AT COLUMBUS (1 meeting): Crew 2 wins, 3 goals … Union 0 wins, 1 goal … Ties 0
RETURN MATCH: 9/17: Philadelphia Union vs. Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m.

LAST YEAR (MLS)
8/5: PHI 1, CLB 2 (Le Toux 45 – Lenhart 43, 50)
10/24: CLB 3, PHI 1 (Barros Schelotto 15, Renteria 42, Mendoza 79 – Le Toux 87)
•    The Crew won both meetings in Union’s inaugural season last year, a 2-1 win at PPL Park and a 3-1 win at Crew Stadium.
•    Coaches record: Robert Warzycha vs. PHI: P2 W2 L0 D0 … Peter Nowak v CLB: P14 W6 L4 D4

COLUMBUS CREW
The Columbus Crew returned home and returned to their winning ways,
coming back for a 3-1 win against the New England Revolution on Saturday
evening at Crew Stadium. The Crew have 37 points from 25 games on the
season, still leading the Eastern Conference.

LAST MATCH
•    The Revolution took the lead just before the break. Pat Phelan
shook off a challenge in the area and laid the ball square in a return
pass for Benny Feilhaber, and he lashed home a low shot past William
Hesmer.
•    The equalizer came in the 54th minute when New England defender
Kevin Alston stuck out a foot to prevent a chip from Andrés Mendoza
reaching fellow forward Tommy Heinemann, but the ball flew over the head
of onrushing goalkeeper Matt Reis.
•    On 75 minutes, the Crew took the lead when Julius James powered
home a header from close range at the near post after a corner kick from
Josh Gardner.
•    Emilio Renteria then finished off the scoring six minutes later
when he turned home a shot all alone in front of goal from a rolling
cross by Robbie Rogers from the right corner.
•    Crew head coach Robert Warzycha made two changes to the team that
went down to a 2-0 defeat to the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting
Goods Park. Kevin Burns and Justin Meram came into the midfield for
Eddie Gaven and Dejan Rusmir.
•    COLUMBUS CREW  (4-1-3-2): William Hesmer - Sebastian Miranda, Chad
Marshall, Julius James, Josh Gardner - Kevin Burns - Justin Meram
(Bernardo Anor 72), Emmanuel Ekpo, Robbie Rogers - Tommy Heinemann
(Emilio Renteria 58), Andres Mendoza (Dilly Duka 66).

TEAM NEWS
•    For the sixth time in 12 home matches, the Crew conceded the first
goal. They have taken 13 points (3 wins, 4 draws) after allowing the
first goal – second in MLS behind Seattle Sounders FC, who have taken 15
points after conceding first.
•    “It was a great response from the guys,” Crew coach Robert
Warzycha said. “We talked about it at halftime, that this wasn’t the
first time we were 1-0 down at home and that we would be able to score
some goals in the second half.”
•    The Crew are also the only team in MLS which is undefeated when
trailing at halftime (2-0-4); 21 of their 27 goals on the season have
been scored after the break.
•    “Everyone knew it was going to come. We came out and really
possessed. There wasn’t one point in the game that we were down on
ourselves even though they had the goal,” said midfielder Dilly Duka.
Said defender Chad Marshall: “It’s not something we want to do, [but] we
did that a lot in 2008 and that worked out.”
•    The Crew scored a goal directly from a set piece service for the
first time this season when Julius James headed home Josh Gardner’s
corner kick. The only other goal the Crew have scored on a deadball
situation – Jeff Cunningham’s goal on July 6 vs. Vancouver – came after a
corner was cleared but then sent back into the box.
•    “I hit it down because I was so close to the goal,” James said. “I
didn’t hit it cleanly enough as a laser. I tried to focus on getting it
over. Josh put it in an excellent spot for me. My first goal for the
Columbus Crew is a blessing for me.” Said Warzycha: “That goal was
perfect timing. The service was good. The run was good. I’m very happy
we scored the first one.”
•    Gardner was taken the corner kick with Eddie Gaven out of the
lineup with a leg contusion that forced him off early in the Colorado
match. It was the first time Gaven was out of the starting lineup in
league play this season.
•    “He’s very capable of serving dead balls in,” Marshall said of
Gardner. “If we make the right run we’re capable of scoring a lot more.
It was good to get that one.”
•    With William Hesmer out of the lineup with a strained quadriceps
muscle, Andy Gruenebaum backstopped the Crew to back-to-back shutouts.
Hesmer allowed two goals to Colorado on his return, but was back between
the posts for the New England match.
•    “It’s still a competition,” Warzycha said. “I’m not saying Will is
going to play every game the rest of the season, but if he is going to
be solid, he is going to play most of the games.”

PHILADELPHIA UNION
Philadelphia Union shared the points for a third consecutive match,
twice coming back before settling for a 2-2 draw with FC Dallas on
Saturday evening at PPL Park. Union have 34 points from 23 matches on
the year, in second place in the Eastern Conference.

LAST MATCH
•    FC Dallas took the lead in the 16th minute through newcomer Maicon
Santos. Union center back Carlos Valdés failed to deal with a bouncing
ball and Santos nipped in behind him, floating his shot over goalkeeper
Faryd Mondragón from outside the area.
•    But the home side pulled even in the 34th minute when Justin Mapp
ran onto a ball played over the top by Sebastien Le Toux and was hauled
down in the area by FCD defender George John. Le Toux then sent FCD
goalkeeper Kevin Hartman the wrong way in converting from the spot.
•    Yet in first half stoppage time, FC Dallas again nosed in front.
Sprung by a tremendous through ball from Santos, Marvin Chavez was in
alone on Mondragón and put the ball between his legs toward goal. But
the ball came off the post -- but Brek Shea was first to it to tap into
the empty net.
•    FC Dallas were reduced to 10 men when John was sent off in the
81st minute, and Union again capitalized, this time with four minutes to
play, again from the penalty spot. Union left back Gabriel Farfan was
taken down in the box by Dallas substitute Jackson, and Le Toux again
stepped up to knock home the penalty.
•    Union manager Peter Nowak made one change to the team that reached
a 1-1 result with the Houston Dynamo at PPL Park. Freddy Adu made his
Union debut, coming in for Roger Torres.
•    PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-3-1-2): Faryd Mondragon - Sheanon Williams,
Carlos Valdes, Danny Califf, Gabriel Farfan - Sebastien Le Toux, Brian
Carroll, Justin Mapp (Keon Daniel 79) - Veljko Paunovic - Jack McInerney
(Roger Torres 74), Freddy Adu (Danny Mwanga 62).

TEAM NEWS
•    It was an eighth draw in the last 12 league games for Union.
“Goals have been hard to come by and we got two tonight because we were
staying after it," said defender Sheanon Williams. "We got some calls in
our favor and Seba took advantage on the PKs. We’ll take them however
they come. Definitely, I think we’re pleased. We’re not leaving saying
we’re thrilled with the one point, but we’re happy to get it and take a
positive from the match."
•    Signed just the day before to a contract, Freddy Adu made his Philadelphia Union debut, starting and playing 62 minutes.
•    “He was still trying to find his way a bit, it’s obviously not
easy to come into a team, practice with them one day and then sort
everything out [in a game]," said defender Danny Califf. “He showed some
flashes of what he can be and he is going to be a very important piece
for us going forward.”
•    Adu was nominally an underneath attacker, pairing with Jack
McInerney, but also interchanged with attacking midfielder Veljko
Paunovic.
•    “We gave him a start; it was important for us not to push the
envelope too much,” said Nowak. “You can see he still needs the game
fitness. I think he understood the concept of the 60 minutes he played.
He is going to get more dangerous if he is going to more from place to
place. We have to figure out the tactical part, we have to see where he
fits in our system. For the first time, it was good to have him [on the
field].”
•    It was Adu’s first league action since 2007, when he played with
Real Salt Lake. In his first four professional seasons, he made 98
appearances, scoring 12 goals with 19 assists.
•    “I was always trying to force things when I got to a new place.
But today, I tried to let the game come to me and it did, especially in
the second half. I was more active and dangerous [after halftime].”
•    Sebastien Le Toux scored twice from the penalty spot. The leading
scorer for Union a year ago with 14 goals, all three of Le Toux’s goals
this year have been penalties.
•    “We’ve been talking, we’ve been debating, trying to figure out
this and that, goals from the run of play or not — who cares?” Nowak
said. “Two goals are two goals. This is good for every player’s
mentality.”
•    Le Toux has converted every penalty kick awarded to Union since
the club’s inception – 6-for-6. “I like to take them and it’s something
I’m pretty confident about,” Le Toux said. “I work on them before
practice sometimes. People know on the team I like to take them and
they’re confident in me taking them.”