MLS Regular Season
The honors haven't stopped for Crew captain Michael Parkhurst.
Fresh off of his appearance in the 2014 MLS AT&T All-Star Game, the defender appeared in EA Sports' FIFA 14 MLS Team of the Season.
Parkhurst is joined by Chad Marshall, Omar Gonzalez, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler and Liam Ridgewell at centerback.
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.
Consecutive victories have vaulted the Crew into MLS Cup Playoff position in the Eastern Conference, and national writers have noticed.
The Black & Gold have risen in all three of the major national Power Rankings rundowns. See below for the Crew's position, with the previous week's rank noted afterward:
MLSsoccer.com: 13 (15)
SI.com: 14 (15)
ESPNFC: 13 (15)
Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Images
Crew defender Giancarlo Gonzalez was recognized for his defensive efforts in New England by the League, as he was named to MLSsoccer.com's Team of the Week for Week 20.
Throughout the match at Gillette Stadium, "Pipo" recorded three tackles won, three interceptions, one blocked shot and an astonishing 14 clearances, tying Michael Parkhurst's total during the season-opener at D.C. United for the most by any Crew player in one contest this season.
Also recognized was goalkeeper Steve Clark, who made the Team of the Week bench to round out the full 18.
Federico Higuain's bending free kick has been nominated for Week 20's MLS AT&T Goal of the Week.
The opening tally in the Crew's match at New England, Higuain's gorgeous free kick helped the Black & Gold on to their second consecutive victory.
Voting runs until 2:59 a.m. ET on Friday and the winner is announced on Friday.
Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark put forth another sensational performance in New England and his efforts did not go unnoticed. Clark was named by Sports Illustrated's Planet Futbol to MLS' Best XI side for Week 20. Here's what author Liviu Bird had to say about Clark:
"Important saves for Clark included an early tip over the bar from Teal Bunbury and a 1-on-1 foot save on Kelyn Rowe in a close road win over New England. Particularly away from home, a goalkeeper will likely have to play well for his team to have a chance, and Clark was as responsible for the final result as any other Crew player."
Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Images