FINAL LEG OF TRILLIUM CUP PRESENTED BY SCOTTS ...
The Crew and Toronto FC battle on Saturday for the third and final meeting in the Trillium Cup, presented by Scotts ... Toronto secured the trophy with a 3-2 win in Toronto on May 31 and a 2-0 victory at Crew Stadium in April in the first match of the regular-season series ... Trillium is the provincial flower of Ontario and the state wildflower of Ohio and Scotts joined as the presenting sponsor of the award ahead of the 2013 series ... the trophy was first awarded in 2008.
... AND REVENGE IS ON THE LINE
Following Toronto FC’s 3-2 win on May 31 to secure the Trillium Cup, presented by Scotts, the Crew has the ability to play for revenge and crucial Eastern Conference points ... despite the trophy loss this year, the Crew has secured the Trillium Cup five times ... 2008 marked the first year the award was up for grabs and the Crew held the trophy from 2008-2010 before a Toronto regular-season series victory gave the Reds the Cup for 2011 -- Toronto’s only Trillium Cup victory prior to this year ... the Crew regained the award in 2012 with three victories over Toronto and retained it in 2013 with a 2-1-0 record against the Reds ... Saturday is also the first meeting between the Crew and former forward Dominic Oduro, who was traded to Toronto on June 6.
PIPA LOVES THE REDS
Toronto FC got a break from Federico Higuain in the last meeting on May 31 while the Argentine served a one-match suspension for yellow-card accumulation ... Higuain has been lethal against Toronto and has recorded five goals and two assists in just six meetings with Toronto FC ... he recorded a two-goal performance on August 18, 2013, assisted Dominic Oduro on the game-winning goal on May 18, 2013 and the Crew playmaker recorded a brace in the final meeting between the two teams in 2012 on October 28 ... Pipa has been quite efficient against the Reds, as he’s scored all five goals on just seven shots on goal in 525 minutes.
OH THANK HEAVEN, ETHAN FINLAY’S LAST ELEVEN
With his game-tying assist in Chicago last weekend, Ethan Finlay has now recorded a goal or an assist in eight of the last 11 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 and added the game-winning goal on July 26 at New England.
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 Captain Michael Parkhurst made 58 regular-season appearances, all starts, at Gillette Stadium as a member of the Revolution from 2005-2008. Parkhurst also made 12 appearances against the Crew while with New England.
Bernardo Anor added his second tally of the night in the 75th minute last Saturday against Montreal to give the Crew a 2-1 win. The game-winning goal was the Crew’s second at the 75th minute or later this season. It was the first since 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’).
Steve Clark tied a career-high mark with five saves in the match against Montreal last weekend. In the 2-1 win, in which he gave up one goal in the first half. Clark made all five saves in the second 45-minute window to deny the Impact a second tally. He made a pair of stops in the 64th minute that were nominated for “Save of the Week,” the fourth time this year he has been up for the weekly award.
Giancarlo Gonzalez and Waylon Francis were welcomed back to Crew Stadium on Wednesday night following their run in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The Columbus crowd gave them an ovation before kickoff, as many fans saw the Costa Rican duo on the world’s stage. Americans made up a full 20% of all the traffic to the FIFA official apps and Web sites. Over the tournament, 36.7 million unique visitors from the United States have visited FIFA.com or the FIFA app. That’s about 11.28% of the U.S. population.
The Black & Gold return to action on Saturday, seeking a critical home win against the Montreal Impact. The Crew does have recent history to its advantage this weekend. Montreal is currently 0-5-3 on the road in 2014 and has yet to secure a victory away from Stade Saputo. The Crew is also 3-0-0 in the three previous meetings between the Black & Gold and the Impact at Crew Stadium.
The 75th-minute mark in matches between the Crew and Montreal has led to fascinatng action in regular-season play dating back to 2012. In the most recent meeting on September 14, 2013, Federico Higuain added his second assist of the contest – and team-best eighth of the season – on Dominic Oduro’s match-winner in the 78th minute. Both meetings in 2012 featured game-winning goals in the 89th-minute or later as Patrice Bernier’s 89th-minute PK secured the 2-1 win for Montreal on July 8 while Emilio Renteria’s 93rd-minute goal gave the Crew a 2-1 win on Sept. 1, 2012. Just outside the parameter, Dominic Oduro also snagged a 72nd-minute equalizer to give the Black & Gold a draw in a 1-1 clash on April 14, 2013 in Montreal.
BERHALTER ON A TOUGH LOSS WEDNESDAY NIGHT
Following the club’s 2-1 defeat on Wednesday at home, Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter spoke to the media on the turnaround needed ahead of Saturday ... said Berhalter: “We’re not victims in this whole thing. The way we perform we didn’t deserve to win that game and it wasn’t a pretty soccer game all around. The whole thing wasn’t pretty. Our job is to come out here and entertain the fans and play attractive soccer and we didn’t do that we didn’t live up to our end of the bargain tonight. It was hesitancy, it was guys not moving and it’s too bad because especially when they got the red card we could have gotten more out of that and we didn’t.”
FRANCIS, GONZALEZ RETURNED
Crew defenders Waylon Francis and Giancarlo Gonzalez represented the Crew in Brazil during the 2014 FIFA World Cup and returned on Wednesday with a start after meeting the team in New York last weekend ... Gonzalez started and played in every single match for The Ticos ... Gonzalez also added successful spot kicks during penalty kicks on June 29 as Costa Rica advanced past Greece and in the team’s final match against the Netherlands on July 5 in the Quarterfinals.
LAST EIGHT HAVE BEEN STRONG FOR FINLAY
With his assist on Adam Bedell’s goal in New York on July 12, Ethan Finlay has scored a goal or an assist in six of the last eight 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 ... he returned with the team’s lone goal in the 1-1 draw at Colorado on July 4 ... the Crew earned an own goal on Wednesday night against Sporting KC in just the second match in eight League contests Finlay has played in of late in which he did not record a goal or an assist.
The Crew enters the week looking at a three-match homestand with a pair of League tilts on Wednesday and Saturday. The Black & Gold are unbeaten (1-0-2) in their last three contests at Crew Stadium dating back to May 24 against Chicago. In the current home unbeaten span, the team is averaging 13.33 shots per game.
Since 2006, Columbus and Sporting Kansas City have traded off streaks of at least five consecutive matches of success for one club in the all-time regular-season series. The Crew dropped five straight matches from 2006-2007 before the Black & Gold rattled-off a six match (5-0-1) stretch of points against the Kansas City side from 2008 to 2010. With Sporting KC now 4-0-1 in their last five matches against the Crew since 2012, the historical tides are due for a shift for the better in Columbus against Sporting.
For the second straight week, the Crew faces one of the League’s top goal scorers in its upcoming match. Last weekend, Bradley Wright-Phillips scored his League-leading 15th of the season. On Wednesday, Sporting KC’s Dom Dwyer comes to Columbus with the Crew looking to keep his season total at 14 tallies.
MOVING FORWARD AFTER LOSS AT NEW YORK
Following the club’s 4-1 defeat on Saturday in New York, Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter remained positive in providing a course of action heading into a stretch of four matches in 11 days, beginning Wednesday ... said Berhalter, “We got to pick ourselves up, right? We got to pick ourselves up and move on. Put this game behind us. It’s over as of now and we’re moving forward. I think the message to the guys is ‘Let’s not talk about it, let’s do it.’”
FRANCIS, GONZALEZ AVAILABLE FOR SELECTION
Crew defenders Waylon Francis and Giancarlo Gonzalez represented the Crew in Brazil during the 2014 FIFA World Cup and are now available for selection this week after meeting the team in New York last weekend ... Gonzalez started and played in every single match for The Ticos ... Gonzalez also added successful spot kicks during penalty kicks on June 29 as Costa Rica advanced past Greece and in the team’s final match against the Netherlands on July 5 in the Quarterfinals ... Gonzalez last played MLS action on May 17 at Portland while Francis departed ahead of that trip and last took the field in League play on May 10 against Portland.
BEDELL BAGS HIS FIRST
Adam Bedell came on as a substitute and provided the Crew’s lone goal on Saturday night in New York ... the tally was Bedell’s first career strike in his rookie campaign ... per MLS, he also becomes the tallest player (6 feet, 7 inches) to score a goal in MLS history.
FOLLOWING ARRIETA INJURY, BERHALTER TURNED TO BEDELL
Needing to make an early substitution due to a Jairo Arrieta leg injury, Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter turned to forward Adam Bedell in the 25th minute ... Bedell went on to score his first career goal 14 minutes later ... said Berhalter, “I think it’s great that he got off the mark and he got a goal. He’s a good finisher. We need to keep creating opportunities for him because he can finish.”
The Crew heads to Red Bull Arena for the first of two meetings at the home of the Red Bulls in 2014. The Crew is 1-1-2 in its previous four meetings in the venue, but has secured points in three of the four meetings, including a victory in the team’s first visit to the building that opened in 2010. Those results have helped improve the Crew’s overall road record against New York, which stands at 9-14-5. Despite the historical struggle on New Jersey soil, the clubs remain almost deadlocked in regular-season action all-time, with the Crew currently 24-25-9 against New York.
The Crew has played to four consecutive draws dating back to June 4 against Real Salt Lake. The streak matches a previous Black & Gold record for consecutive draws (four) from the 2006 season. That year, the team played to consecutive 1-1 draws at home against New England (June 21) and Chivas USA (June 24) before a pair of road draws: 0-0 at New York (June 28) before a 1-1 tilt at Houston (July 4). Both stretches -- the 2006 string of matches and the current one -- began in June and involved a 1-1 Fourth of July draw.
Midfielder Tony Tchani has started each of the team’s first 17 matches through the midway point of the year. His 1,502 minutes are fast approaching a career high (1,610) that was set in his rookie season with Saturday’s opponent, the New York Red Bulls, in 2010. As a rookie, Tchani made 27 appearances and 17 starts. His 17 starts this year have already trumped his 13 starts for the Crew in 2013 and he is on pace to reach the 20 appearance mark for the third consecutive year in Black & Gold.
CREW ENTERS WEEK WITH FOUR-MATCH UNBEATEN STREAK
Following last Friday’s 1-1 draw in Colorado, the Crew enters this week riding a four-match unbeaten streak dating back to June 4 against Real Salt Lake ... in that time, the team has played to four consecutive draws in MLS action ... the team has never had a five-match streak of consecutive draws in club history.
BACK TO NEW JERSEY
Saturday’s match is a homecoming trip to New Jersey for Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter, who grew up in the Garden State ... the Englewood native took to the field in his home state as a player on two occassions in regular-season MLS action ... in 2009, he played with the Galaxy at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford and then played at Red Bull Arena in its first year of matches in 2010.
... FRANCIS, GONZALEZ TO MEET TEAM ON THE ROAD THIS WEEKEND
Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter told the press on Tuesday that Giancarlo Gonzalez and Waylon Francis plan to meet the team out East following Costa Rican celebrations for the team’s success in the 2014 FIFA World Cup ... Gonzalez last played MLS action on May 17 at Portland while Francis departed ahead of that trip and last took the field in League play on May 10 against Portland.
HIGUAIN’S 2013 AGAINST NEW YORK
Federico Higuain scored three goals in three total games against New York in 2013 ... his 74th-minute penalty kick was critical in the 2-2 draw at Red Bull Arena on May 26 and his brace in the last meeting between the two teams in 2013 included one of his most memorable goals in a Crew uniform, chipping goalkeeper Luis Robles.