LAST REGULAR SEASON MEETING
On October 26, 2014, Crew SC and Philadelphia faced-off in the season finale at MAPFRE Stadium. The Black & Gold capped-off a perfect year against the Union by winning the contest, 2-1. Zach Pfeffer’s 85th-minute equalizer nearly gave Philadelphia a late draw, but Bernardo Anor won it for Columbus in the 90th.
HISTORIC SUCCESS AGAINST PHILADELPHIA
Crew SC enters this match with an 8-3-1 record against the Union all-time (25 out of a possible 36 points, 69.4%). That figure represents Columbus’ second-highest points-earned percentage against any current MLS opponent (min. two matches played). The Black & Gold only have a higher winning percentage against the Montreal Impact (70.4%).
GALL, SWANSON CALLED-UP
Crew SC midfielders Romain Gall and Ben Swanson are set to be unavailable for this match against Philadelphia after receiving call-ups to the United States Under-20 and Under-18 National Teams, respectively. Gall earned a call-up to the U-20 National Team camp in Linz, Austria on April 17, and is set to be with the team through April 26. Swanson, meanwhile, received a call-up to the U-18 National Team camp in Medugorge, Bosnia & Herzegovina through May 1.
KAMARA APPROACHING 200 APPEARANCES ...
Should he see any action in this match against Philadelphia, Crew SC forward Kei Kamara will have hit 200 career MLS appearances. Kamara’s first MLS appearance came on April 1, 2006 for Columbus, where he scored a goal in his debut against Kansas City. The forward has gone on to make 42 total appearances for Columbus, with 12 for San Jose, 32 for Houston and 113 for Kansas City in his career.
... WHILE AMONG LEAGUE LEADERS
Kamara’s goal against Orlando City SC gave him four goals on the season. He is now one of three players tied for second in the League in the category. The Sierra Leone native also is tied for third in MLS in goals/game (0.67). Kamara also has the overall MLS lead in total shots (28) and is tied for the League lead in shots on goal (13).
FRANCIS, SAEID LEADING LEAGUE IN PASSING
Among the League’s most accurate passers (min. 100 passes attempted), the top two are members of the Black & Gold. Defender Waylon Francis (95.1%) and midfielder Mohammed Saeid (90.0%) both rank atop the League in passing accuracy.
CREW SC SETS LEAGUE MARK
Against Orlando City SC, the Black & Gold passed to a team accuracy rate of 88.1%. That number is the single-highest passing accuracy mark achieved by any MLS club in any match this season. Crew SC also holds the second-highest mark, with 87.1% passing against Toronto FC (March 14).
PASSING MACHINE AS A TEAM
As a team, Crew SC ranks second in passing accuracy, trailing only Orlando City SC. The Black & Gold also rank in the top five in passing accuracy in the opponent’s half (second) and passing accuracy in the final third (second).
PIPA MOVING UP CLUB RECORD BOOKS
Federico Higuain’s goal against Orlando was the 28th of his MLS and Crew SC career, tying him with Dante Washington for seventh on the club’s all-time list. His assist on Kei Kamara’s goal was his 24th of his MLS/Crew SC career, bringing him within one of Eddie Gaven’s 25 for seventh in club history in that category as well. Higuain’s three shots in the match also broke the 200-shot milestone for his career (202).
CLARK KEEPS CONSECUTIVE CLEAN SHEETS
Goalkeeper Steve Clark’s clean sheet against Orlando City SC was his second consecutive clean sheet, as well as his third of the season. The shutout was also his 11th all-time. The Crew SC ‘keeper has now recorded consecutive shutouts three times for the club, with the most recent instance before this one coming from September 20 - September 27, 2014.
GOING FOR GOAL
Following a 17-shot total against Orlando City SC on Saturday, Crew SC still ranks first in Major League Soccer in most attempted shots per match (15.7). The Black & Gold also rank third overall in shots (94), despite having played only six matches.
Following performances of five and four shots attempted against Orlando City SC, respectively, Crew SC’s Kei Kamara and Justin Meram still rank in the League’s top six in shots attempted per match. Kamara (4.7) trails only Toronto FC’s Sebastian Giovinco in the statistic, and Meram (3.5) ranks fifth, tied with Houston’s Giles Barnes. Kamara ranks first in MLS in total amount of shots (28).
CLARK KEEPS CLEAN SHEET
Goalkeeper Steve Clark’s clean sheet against New England was his second of the season. The shutout was also his 10th all-time and his second career blanking of New England, having achieved the feat on September 20, 2014 at MAPFRE Stadium. Clark’s first shutout this season occurred on March 14 in Columbus against Toronto FC.
KAMARA AMONG LEAGUE LEADERS
Crew SC forward Kei Kamara’s brace against Whitecaps FC gave him three goals on the season. He is now one of nine players tied for second in the League in the category. The Sierra Leone native also is tied for sixth in MLS in goals/game (0.60). Kamara is also tied for the overall MLS lead in shots/match with Vancouver’s Octavio Rivero (23).
CLASH OF THE PASSING TITANS
Among the League’s top 10 most accurate passers (min. 80 passes attempted), seven are members of the two clubs involved in this match. For Crew SC, defender Waylon Francis (95.1%), midfielder Mohammed Saeid (88.3%) and midfielder Wil Trapp (87.7%) all rank in the League’s top 10 in passing accuracy. Orlando City SC’s Eric Avila (90.4%), Darwin Ceren (89.6%), Cristian Higuita (88.1%) and Amobi Okugo (87.7%) also are among the top 10.
PASSING MACHINE AS A TEAM
Crew SC ranks third in passing accuracy, trailing only this weekend’s opponent, Orlando City SC, and the Montreal Impact. The Black & Gold also rank in the top five in passing accuracy in the opponent’s half (third) and passing accuracy in the final third (second).
GOING FOR GOAL
Following an eight-shot total against New England on Saturday, Crew SC still ranks first in Major League Soccer in most attempted shots per match (15.4) This weekend’s opponent, Orlando City SC, has recorded 12.3 shots per match, tying for seventh in the League.
Following performances of two and one shots attempted against New England, respectively, Crew SC’s Kei Kamara and Justin Meram still rank in the League’s top five in shots attempted per match. Kamara (4.6) trails only New York City FC’s David Villa in the statistic, and Meram (3.3) ranks fifth. Kamara ranks first in MLS in total amount of shots (23), tied with Vancouver’s Octavio Rivero.
INTO THE BOX
On a per-match basis, Crew SC has been one of the most successful clubs at crossing the ball into the box this season. The Black & Gold rank first in MLS in crosses from open play per match. The club also leads the League in successful crosses and ranks second in crossing accuracy.
GRANA LEADS THE WAY
Among players recording at least 10 crosses from open play, Crew SC rightback Hernan Grana ranks first in crosses from open play per match. The Argentine is also in the top three in total crosses, successful crosses and crossing accuracy.
Columbus Crew SC midfielder Ethan Finlay has made 27 regular-season appearances for the club since May 17, 2014 at Portland. Over that span, Finlay has recorded at least one goal or assist in 17 of the 27 matches (63%). The former Creighton Bluejay has 11 goals and nine assists over his MLS career, with all coming since that match at Providence Park.
Goalkeeper Steve Clark made six saves in the contest against Whitecaps FC, tying his all-time MLS career-best. Clark now has five separate six-save performances in Major League Soccer regular-season play, with the last coming on October 26, 2014 against Philadelphia prior to Wednesday. Since entering MLS ahead of last season, Clark is tied for third in the League in total saves, with 126.
On three separate occasions, Columbus Crew SC players have recorded an individual match with at least six attempted shots. Justin Meram has achieved the feat once (March 14 vs. Toronto FC, seven shots) and Kei Kamara has done it twice (March 7 at Houston, six shots; April 8 at Vancouver, six shots). There have been just 14 League-wide matches of this nature in 2014, and only Vancouver has more individual six-or-more shot performances (four) than the Black & Gold.
RETURN TO GILLETTE STADIUM
Columbus Crew SC and the New England Revolution are set to renew their rivalry with the first regular-season meeting between the sides in 2015 and the first match-up of the two clubs since the 2014 Eastern Conference Semifinals. In all-time regular season play, the Black & Gold are 31-21-11 against New England, including a mark of 14-13-5 in Foxborough. Crew SC took the 2014 regular-season series between the clubs with a 2-1-0 record. Additionally, the clubs have met in the postseason three times (2002, 2004, 2014).
LAST REGULAR SEASON MEETING
On October 4, 2014, Crew SC and the Revolution met in what would be an MLS Cup Playoffs preview at Gillette Stadium. Ethan Finlay notched his ninth goal of the season, but New England won the contest by a 2-1 final following goals from Lee Nguyen and Jermaine Jones.
HIGUAIN AVAILABLE FOR SELECTION
Following a red-card suspension served on Wednesday at Vancouver, Federico Higuain is set to be available for selection in the match. The Designated Player is Columbus’ leader in both goals and assists since he joined the club on July 27, 2012.
KAMARA RECORDS A BRACE ...
Forward Kei Kamara recorded a two-goal performance, helping Crew SC to a draw on Wednesday at Vancouver. The brace was the Sierra Leone native’s seventh all-time in Major League Soccer and his first since August 10, 2013 against New England, when he accomplished the feat as a member of Sporting Kansas City. The two-goal performance was also Kamara’s first in a Columbus shirt. Kamara now has 55 career MLS tallies.
... THE CLUB’S FIRST SINCE SCHOENFELD’S
The last two-goal match by a member of Crew SC prior to Kamara’s effort at Vancouver on Wednesday was by Aaron Schoenfeld, who notched a brace on October 19, 2014 at Red Bull Arena against New York.
Midfielder Ethan Finlay notched his second assist of the 2015 campaign on Kamara’s opening goal in Vancouver. Finlay now leads the club in the category. The helper was the ninth of his Major League Soccer career. Overall, it also marked the 20th goal that Finlay has been involved in in MLS (goals + assists), with all 20 coming since May 17, 2014 at Portland.
KAMARA AMONG LEAGUE LEADERS
Crew SC forward Kei Kamara’s brace against Whitecaps FC gave him three goals on the season. He is now one of seven players tied for second in the League in the category. Among players with more than one match played, Kamara is tied for fourth in MLS in goals/game (0.75).
GOING FOR GOAL
Following a 15-shot total against Vancouver on Wednesday, Crew SC still ranks first in Major League Soccer in most attempted shots per match (17.3). This weekend’s opponent, New England, has recorded 11.4 shots per match.
Following performances of six and two shots attempted against Vancouver, respectively, Crew SC’s Kei Kamara and Justin Meram continue to both rank in the League’s top three in shots attempted per match. Kamara (5.3) leads MLS in the statistic, and Meram (4.5) ranks third. Kamara ranks second in MLS in total amount of shots (21), trailing only Vancouver’s Octavio Rivero (23).
In club history, Columbus Crew SC has played at Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s BC Place just once prior to Wednesday's match. That contest came on March 9, 2013, in what was Columbus’ third match of the year that season. Whitecaps FC took the contest by a 2-1 final with goals from Daigo Kobayashi and Kenny Miller. Jairo Arrieta scored for the Black & Gold. Excluding first-year MLS stadiums Avaya Stadium, the Citrus Bowl and Yankee Stadium, the current League pitch that Crew SC has played on the second-fewest number of times is Portland’s Providence Park (three all-time matches).
Defender Emanuel Pogatetz recorded 17 clearances against the New York Red Bulls on March 28, setting the single-season high for any Black & Gold player in the category. The 17 clearances are also tied for third League-wide for most clearances in any one match by any one player, trailing Colorado’s Axel Sjoberg, who notched 22 against Philadelphia on March 7, and Real Salt Lake’s Jamison Olave, who registered 18 against Portland on that same date. Over the last five seasons, only two other Black & Gold defenders have totaled single-match performances with over 17 clearances: Eric Gehrig and Chad Marshall.
Crew SC has played just three regular-season matches this year, tied with Montreal and the New York Red Bulls for fewest in the League. The last time that Columbus’ fourth regular-season match came on April 8 or later was in 2011, when the Black & Gold played their fourth match on April 9 at Chivas USA.
A pair of Crew SC players have returned to the team following international duty and are available for selection for the match against Vancouver ... midfielder Justin Meram earned two caps for the Iraq National Team in two separate friendlies against DR Congo in Dubai ... Meram started both matches, which Iraq won 2-1 (March 28) and 1-0 (March 31) ... the former University of Michigan midfielder now has 13 caps for Iraq ... meanwhile, defender Waylon Francis earned his second cap for Costa Rica with a start against Paraguay (March 26) in a 0-0 draw.
Following a red card against the New York Red Bulls on March 28, Federico Higuain is set to be unavailable for the match against Vancouver as a result of the following suspension ... Higuain is slated to be available for selection in Crew SC’s next match, on April 11 at New England.
Crew SC is set to embark on a two-match, cross-continent road trip that will see the club play at Vancouver on Wednesday, April 8 and at New England on Saturday, April 11 ... over the course of the week, the Black & Gold are slated to travel 5,560 air miles from start to finish.
PASSING MACHINE: AS A TEAM ...
Crew SC ranks second in passing accuracy, trailing only Orlando City SC ... the Black & Gold also rank in the top five in passing accuracy in their own half (fourth), passing accuracy in the opponent’s half (third) and passing accuracy in the final third (fourth).
... AND ON THE INDIVIDUAL LEVEL
Among all MLS players that have attempted at least 80 passes, Waylon Francis (95.1%), Mohammed Saeid (90.3%) and Wil Trapp (89.9%) are the top three passers in the League on an accuracy basis.
KEEPING THE BALL
After finishing the 2014 campaign fourth in total possession time, Crew SC has continued to play strong possession soccer this season ... the Black & Gold’s mark of 56.3% possession leads MLS.
GOING FOR GOAL
The match against Vancouver is set to pit the top two shooting clubs in Major League Soccer against each other ... the Black & Gold rank first in the League in shots per game, with Vancouver ranking second.
Columbus Crew SC’s Justin Meram, Kei Kamara and Tony Tchani have each found the back of the net once this season ... among all MLS players, Meram, Kamara and Tchani rank first, second and fourth respectively in total shots per match ... Vancouver’s Kekuta Manneh, Octavio Rivero and Pedro Morales are all in the top 11.
On a per-match basis, no club has been more effective at crossing the ball than Crew SC this season ... the Black & Gold lead MLS in crosses from open play per game, as well as total number of successful crosses from open play and crossing accuracy.
INTO THE BOX
Among players recording at least 10 crosses from open play, Crew SC rightback Hernan Grana ranks first in crosses from open play per match ... the Argentine is also in the top three in total crosses, successful crosses and crossing accuracy.
Crew SC and the New York Red Bulls have met 60 times in regular-season play, but have also faced-off twice in the MLS Cup Playoffs. The Black & Gold met the then- MetroStars in the 1998 Eastern Conference Semifinals, which Crew SC took two matches to zero. Additionally, the sides also met in Los Angeles in MLS Cup 2008, where a 3-1 victory gave the Black & Gold their first MLS Cup championship.
Midfielder Wil Trapp completed 87 passes against Toronto FC in Crew SC’s Opening Match, setting an individual high for any MLS player this season for most passes completed in a single match. Trapp’s 87-pass effort featured 17 more passes than the second-best performance this season, Orlando City SC’s Darwin Ceren’s 70-pass match against Vancouver Whitecaps FC. The Gahanna native’s 98 passes attempted were also a single-game League high, exceeding Ceren’s 82 passes attempted against the Whitecaps.
With their goals against Toronto FC two weekends ago in the Opening Match, Justin Meram and Kei Kamara became the 21st and 22nd players in club history to record a goal during a Black & Gold home opener. The full list, in chronological order of the player’s first goal in a Columbus home opener: Brian McBride, Pete Marino, Mike Lapper, Jeff Cunningham, Stern John, Brian West, Robert Warzycha, Dante Washington, Edson Buddle, Frankie Hejduk, Ante Razov, Sebastian Rozental, Adam Moffat, Alejandro Moreno, Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Andy Iro, Milovan Mirosevic, Olman Vargas, Glauber, Bernardo Anor, Meram and Kamara.
Two members of Crew SC are unavailable for selection for this match while representing their respective National Teams ... defender Waylon Francis is with Costa Rica for friendlies versus Paraguay and and at Panama ... midfielder Justin Meram is with Iraq for a pair of friendlies against DR Congo, with both being held in Dubai ... additionally, midfielder Wil Trapp is set to depart Columbus following this match to join the United States’ Under-23 side for a friendly at Denmark.
WELCOME BACK, KEI KAMARA
In the win over Toronto FC, Kei Kamara scored his first goal for Crew SC since June 30, 2007 in a 1-0 win over the New York Red Bulls ... the goal was Kamara’s 53rd all-time MLS tally and his sixth in a Columbus shirt ... it was his first in MLS overall since he scored a pair of goals for Sporting Kansas City on August 10, 2013 against the Revolution.
PASSING MACHINE: AS A TEAM ...
After the third weekend of regular-season MLS play, Columbus Crew SC leads the League in successful passes per match (427.5) ... Crew SC also leads MLS in total passing accuracy (84.07%) as well as passing accuracy in its own half (92.84%), passing accuracy in the opponent’ss half (76.8%) and passing accuracy in the opponent’s final third (70.78%) ... the Black & Gold have attempted 508.5 passes per match, which also leads MLS, edging out Orlando City SC’s 496.33 passes attempted per contest.
... AND ON THE INDIVIDUAL LEVEL
Among players that have attempted at least 50 passes in the current Major League Soccer season, Waylon Francis (1st, 95.12%), Mohammed Saeid (3rd, 93.22%) and Wil Trapp (8th, 89.93%) all rank in the top ten in passing accuracy ... Francis and Saeid are first and second in the League in passing accuracy in the opponent’s half, while the Costa Rican leads MLS in passing accuracy in the final third ... Trapp, meanwhile, is tops in MLS in passes completed per match (67).
This weekend’s match against Toronto FC is the 250th all-time regular season contest for Crew SC at historic MAPFRE Stadium. The Black & Gold have played in the iconic venue since 1999, recording a record of 126-65-58. Over that span, Crew SC has scored 380 goals at MAPFRE Stadium while only conceding 267, a differential of +113. Columbus begins its 17th season at MAPFRE Stadium with this match. Over the years, the stadium has also hosted eight U.S. Soccer FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – specifically four consecutive “Dos a Cero” victories for the U.S. over Mexico (2001, 2005, 2009, 2013) – FIFA Women’s World Cup matches, MLS Cup 2001, two MLS All- Star Games and a number of concerts.
Crew SC has gone unbeaten over its last 10 Opening Matches at home, with a 5-0-5 record over the span. The club has a goal differential of +10 (14 goals four, four goals against) in those contests. Crew SC has kept a clean sheet in six of those Opening Matches, including a stretch of three in a row from 2010 - 2012. Last season, Colum- bus defeated Philadelphia by a final score of 2-1 in the Opening Match.
The Black & Gold begin the eighth-annual Trillium Cup rivalry series with this match against Toronto FC. The two teams have battled for the rivalry cup during each season since the Reds’ entry into Major League Soccer in 2008. Crew SC has earned the Trillium Cup five of the previous seven seasons, but Toronto FC captured it last season after winning all three meetings between the sides. Total points in the teams’ matches decides the winner, with the first tiebreaker being away goals and the second tiebreaker being overall goal differential.
OPENING WITH A BANG
Crew SC has experienced success in recent home openers, going unbeaten over its last 10 such contests at MAPFRE Stadium ... the Black & Gold have gone 5-0-5 in their last 10 Opening Matches, accumulating a goal differential of +10 (14 goals four, four goals against) ... Crew SC has kept a clean sheet in six of those Opening Matches, including a stretch of three in a row from 2010 - 2012.
The MLS Disciplinary committee has suspended Columbus Crew SC midfielder Tony Tchani one game and fined the player an undisclosed amount for his 77th minute challenge in the club’s match last weekend at Houston ... Tchani will miss the Opening Match at MAPFRE Stadium as a result of the suspension.
NINE-TENTHS OF THE LAW
Following a season in which Crew SC kept the ball at a 54.12% rate, good for fourth in MLS, the Black & Gold continued their strong possession ways last weekend in Houston ... Columbus recorded the second-highest rate of possession among any MLS club on the League’s opening weekend, holding the ball at a 59.43% rate against the Dynamo ... only Philadelphia (62.06%) notched a higher rate.