By Brad Friedman
Columbus Crew SC did many things right against FC Dallas on Sunday night, but was punished for its mistakes by the visitors who exhibited their strength on defense and counter-attacks.
The box score painted a picture in which Crew SC controlled much of the action, but could not break down FC Dallas’ backline en route to a 3-0 loss. Below, we break down the match by the numbers.
Sunday's nationally televised match was played in front of a crowd of 20,217, the fourth sellout of the season at MAPFRE Stadium. The match also marked the third time in MAPFRE Stadium history that the venue was sold out for back-to-back Crew SC home matches, following a crowd of 20,018 on August 22 against Sporting Kansas City. The Black & Gold are one sellout away from tying the all-time single-season record for the most sellouts at MAPFRE Stadium, set in 2014 (five).
Crew SC fired off 15 shots and kept FC Dallas’ defense on its toes, especially when Columbus attempted its second-half comeback. The Black & Gold spread the wealth with six different players registering at least one shot. Jack McInerney fired off three in his first start for Crew SC.
A high number of crosses put FC Dallas’ defense to the test. Overall, the visitors did well to diffuse many Crew SC attacks to the tune of 41 clearances. To put that number in perspective, Crew SC’s backline registered 16 clearances.
Columbus maintained much of the possession throughout the night, partially thanks to FC Dallas fielding five defenders for much of the second half and parking the bus defensively. Not only did Crew SC hold the ball for the majority of the time, but it also took care of it. Columbus finished with 553 passes, to FC Dallas’ 269, and completed 81 percent of them.
BACK ON THE MLS GRIND ...
The Crew resumes MLS action for League contest number 16 in 2014 as the Black & Gold return with a 4-5-6 record ... after Saturday’s tilt against FC Dallas, the Crew has several pairs of grouped home and road matches to begin the middle of summer ... following back-to-back road contests at Colorado (July 4) and New York (July 12), the team is home for a stretch of three home matches in eight days, including League matches against Sporting KC (July 16) and Montreal (July 19) before an international friendly against Crystal Palace (July 23).
... BUT THE FIFA WORLD CUP BREAK WAS BUSY FOR CREW
The Crew’s last League match was June 7 at FedExField in a 0-0 result against D.C. United ... after getting a bit of rest, the team played two Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup matches during the most recent 2014 FIFA World Cup break ... after playing 120 minutes on June 17 against North American Soccer League side Indy Eleven, the team again saw an extra-time match on Wednesday night in Chicago.
STRONG TRENDS AGAINST FC DALLAS
The Crew welcomes FC Dallas to Columbus on Saturday as the Black & Gold look to continue its recent success against the Hoops ... since falling in both 2007 League matches, the Crew has secured points in eight out of its last 10 matches against FC Dallas dating back to August 16, 2008 ... the Crew has won its last two matches against the Hoops and within this current 10-match trend, the Black & Gold put together a four-match unbeaten streak (2-0-2) from August 2009 through April 2011.
No matter which corner of the world you reside, chances are you'll be able to catch the Crew's match at FC Dallas on Sunday. In addition to airing live on FOX Sports Ohio (8:30 p.m. ET) locally, Sunday's match is available in over 31 countries worldwide.
Check below for your country's listing.
Benfica TV - Portugal, Cape Verde, Angola, Mozambique
C More - Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden
GSP TV -Romania
Perform - Worldwide
Sport Klub - Hungary
SportsMax - Aruba, Bermuda, The Bahamas, The Cayman Islands, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Curacao, The Leeward Islands (including Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, St. Kitts/Nevis, Montserrat and the British Virgin Islands), The Windward Islands (including St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Dominica and Grenada), Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago and Turks & Caicos
Super Sport -South Africa
250TH APPEARANCE FOR CHAD
Chad Marshall’s next appearance will be his 250th career regular-season appearance, all with the Black & Gold ... the defender is set to become the club’s first player to reach the 250-appearance milestone in the regular season ... Marshall, who also leads the club’s regular-season lists for all-time starts (246) and minutes played (21,860), made his first career appearance on April 17, 2004 in a start at Kansas City ... earlier this season, Marshall became the first Crew player to log 20,000 minutes for the Crew.
SAVING THE BEST FOR LAST
Winner of three of its last four matches dating back to the beginning of the Brian Bliss era, the Crew has made a strong push for the postseason ... included in the recent stretch is the club’s current two-match winning streak, marking the second time in two months that the club has earned back-to-back wins ... the three wins in four matches also represent the first time all season that the club has won three games in a single month in 2013.
ANOTHER DEFENSIVE PERFORMANCE
Certainly the Crew would have had a tough time securing three wins in four matches without a stretch of strong defensive performances ... over the last four matches, the club has recorded two shutouts and allowed a single goal to the then-Eastern Conference-leading Montreal Impact ... the club’s only loss in that stretch allowed three goals ... despite that three-goal match, the Black & Gold backline has allowed an average of just one goal per game in the month of September.
GOOD NEWS FOR GRUENEBAUM
After missing nine matches with left shoulder weakness, there is positive news on the injury front for Andy Gruenebaum ... Gruenebaum was removed this week from the club’s injury report after being upgraded to “questionable” last week ... Gruenebaum started the first 20 matches of 2013 and Matt Lampson made his 10th overall start and ninth consecutive go in net in Gruenebaum’s place last Saturday ... Lampson has five shutouts this season, while Gruenebaum has four cleansheets to his name.