The Black & Gold will host the Chicago Fire in the fourth meeting in MLS and U.S. Open Cup play this season between the two Midwestern rivals on Saturday night at Crew Stadium (TICKETS) in a match with major playoff implications. Having fallen by a single goal to the Fire in each of the previous three matches with the Fire in 2013, the Crew will look to learn from past mistakes on Saturday as it looks to keep playoff hope alive.
Here is a look back at the June 22 clash with Chicago at Crew Stadium.
Federico Higuaín put the Crew on top early, converting a penalty in the seventh minute after Dominic Oduro was taken down in the box by Chicago 'keeper Sean Johnson. But after the halftime break, former Black & Gold winger Dilly Duka equalized for the Men in Red in the 52nd minute to shift the momentum for the visitors. Two minutes later, Fire forward Mike Magee netted the winner on a chested tally from Joel Lindpere's service. Though the Crew put nine shots on target, the home side was unable to find an equalizer in the final half hour of the match.
Crew forward Dominic Oduro is up for AT&T Goal of the Week honors following his match-winner against the Montreal Impact in Saturday's 2-1 victory. Oduro's competition for the award includes Seattle Sounders FC's Obafemi Martins, LA Galaxy's Robbie Keane, New York Red Bulls' Fabián Espíndola and the New England Revolution's Kelyn Rowe.
Text G2 to 22442 or VOTE ONLINE to push to Dom to victory.
The KICKTV crew captures the build-up, electric atmosphere and end result of last week's 2014 World Cup Qualifier at Crew Stadium.
Following the United States' stunning 2-0 win over Mexico for the fourth-straight time at Crew Stadium, Sports Ilustrated's Grant Wahl (as he typically does) broke Earth-shattering news via Twitter:
Waiting on the field in Columbus for the Honduras-Panama finish (2-1 HON now). Frankie Hejduk is break-dancing for the fans.
— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) September 11, 2013
Soon after Wahl's tweet, the above video was posted to YouTube by user RyanRosenblatt. And for that, we are forever grateful.
Tyson Wahl's first season with the Crew has been much like his first season as a pro with the Kansas City Wizards back in 2006.
Just as in his rookie season, Wahl's club was sold to new owners by the Hunt Sports Group midseason. Eerily, Brian Bliss has once again taken over a Interim Head Coach of Wahl's team in the middle of the season as he did in Kansas City in 2006.
With the change, Wahl has noticed a new energy in training the past two days.
"I think in general, whenever there is a coaching change, you have an increased level of intensity," the veteran defender said. "Everyone is fighting for new opportunities, believed opportunities. There is definitely a spike in effort and enthusiasm. I think it's something to capitalize on."
Given his prior experience with Bliss, Wahl feels the coaching change is good for the team's psyche.
"Blissy brings a lot of clarity and intensity. Overall, he brings a good mentality to the team," he said.
Wahl is in competition to return to the starting lineup in Bliss' first match as Interim Head Coach on Wednesday against the Houston Dynamo (7:30 p.m. ET / FOX Sports Ohio).
Fresh off his first start in six matches, winger Ben Speas will not be in action on Saturday night when the Crew welcomes Seattle Sounders FC to Columbus. Instead, the 22-year-old will be in his hometown of Stow, Ohio, preparing to get married on Sunday.
"I'm excited to get married, obviously," Speas said Friday. "It's unfortunate that I miss the game, but best of luck to my teammates against Seattle. I'm sure we'll compete and hopefully bring home three points."
Speas will be back in Columbus in time for Wednesday's match against the Houston Dynamo, as he plans on taking a honeymoon in December.
When asked where he was planning on spending vacation with his new wife after the season ends, Speas simply responded, "Somewhere with a beach."
Andy Gruenebaum, Chad Barson and Dominic Oduro joined 97.1 The Fan's Jonathan "T-Bone" Smith at Fourth Street Bar on Thursday night for Celebrity Bartending. The always-competitive Gruenebaum made the most tips on the evening, using signed apparel to convince patrons to fill his bucket with cash. All tips from the event went to the Crew Soccer Foundation, serving under-served youth in Central Ohio.
Before the Crew hosts Seattle Sounders FC in the only meeting between the two sides in 2013 on Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET / FOX Sports Ohio), let's look back at last year's clash in Seattle.
Having never beaten the Sounders, the Crew silenced the 38,000-plus fans at CenturyLink field following Justin Meram's first-half diving header to give the Black & Gold an early advantage. Andy Gruenebaum and the Crew backline fended off an onslaught of attempts from the Seattle attack before Emilio Rentería added some insurance in the 76th minute to secure the victory with a looping shot from outside the box to beat 'keeper Bryan Meredith. Rentería's stunning strike wouldn't be needed, however, as Gruenebaum made six saves to lift the Crew to its first victory over former coach Sigi Schmid.
After netting a brace for the second straight match, Crew Captain Federico Higuaín was named to MLSSoccer.com's Team of the Week for Week 25. With four goals over the last two matches, the Argentine is now tied with Dominic Oduro for the team-scoring lead with nine tallies in 2013. In 37 matches since joining the Crew in August 2012, Higuaín has scored 14 goals and registered 13 assists while donning the Black & Gold.
On the heels of Saturday's Trillium Cup win over Toronto FC, the Crew now prepares for a tough task in facing Supporters' Shield leader Real Salt Lake on the road. Before the Black & Gold take on Real for the first and only time this year, here is a look back at the clubs' only meeting last season.
Delayed two hours after severe thunderstorms ravaged Central Ohio the night before, the Crew came out firing against the Western Conference leaders from the opening whistle as Tony Tchani and Eddie Gaven scored first-half goals to lift the home team to victory. Andy Gruenebaum recorded one of his career-high eight shutouts, making three saves on the evening before the largest crowd of the season at Crew Stadium. Danny O'Rourke returned to the lineup after missing four matches to patrol the midfield in the win for the Black & Gold.