The Crew has beaten the New England Revolution twice this season, but it's now the third and final meeting of the regular season that is proving to be the most meaningful. Winger Ethan Finlay, who scored the game-winning goal the last time the Black & Gold played at Gillette Stadium, maintains that organization will be the key for the Crew on Saturday.
"It's our defensive shape, staying compact," said Finlay. "This is a good team. When you look at that midfield, they want to play soccer and they have some dangerous pieces up top. Our shape has to be very compact and we have to look to find the spaces behind them going forward."
Finlay also stressed that the Crew was ready for the month of October and knows the task at hand.
Hear more from Finlay in the Black & Gold Breakdown, set to be released later today on TheCrew.com.
Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Images
In 2014, the Columbus Crew has set an all-time club record with five sellouts at Crew Stadium. Another sign of the explosion of soccer both in this city and nationwide, the Black & Gold's five sellouts are more than New York, Chicago, New England, Montreal, D.C. and Houston in the Eastern Conference, and more than Chivas USA, Colorado, Dallas and LA in the Western Conference. But most importantly, at home, great crowd support has led to wins.
In the Crew's five sellouts this season, the Black & Gold are 4-0-1 with an aggregate score of 9-2:
|FC Dallas||6/29/14||D, 0-0||20,617*|
|LA Galaxy||8/16/14||W, 4-1||20,729|
|New England||9/20/14||W, 1-0||21,318|
*Match delayed one day, officially recorded as sellout.
The Crew's 7-2-2 record over its last 11 matches, capped off by a 2-0 win over Montreal on Saturday, has resulted in a sharp rise in the national Power Rankings. The Black & Gold jumped an average of three spots in each of the polls.
See below for Columbus' exact placement with last week's rank indicated:
MLSsoccer.com: 7 (10)
ESPNFC: 7 (11)
SI.com: 8 (10)
Photo Credit: Betke/TheCrew.com
Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark's leaping save to deny Calum Mallace, as well as the netminder's diving, penalty-kick save against Marco Di Vaio to help the Black & Gold to a 2-0 shutout against the Montreal Impact, are each nominated for Save of the Week on MLSsoccer.com. Aside from himself, Clark is up against the Chicago Fire's Sean Johnson, Chivas USA's Dan Kennedy and the Houston Dynamo's Tyler Deric for Week 29's best stop.
Voting runs until 2:59 a.m. ET on Friday and the winner will be announced later that day.
After scoring the quickest goal of the season for the Crew in the second minute of Saturday's 2-0 victory over the Montreal Impact, winger Ethan Finlay earned MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week honors for Week 29. Finlay continues to emerge as a key contributor for the Black & Gold with a career-high eight goals and five assists this season, and is the lone representative for the Black & Gold on this week's Team of the Week.
Ashleigh Ignelzi joins Matt Finkes on 95.5 The Game for Massive Monday to kick-off the week.
Tony Tchani is fifth among all MLS players in duels won in 2014 with 185. The Crew midfielder has won 58.18 percent of his duels. Portland’s Darlington Nagbe leads that list with 211 duels won and a 63.36 percent duel success rate. Of the list of the top five duel-winners in regular-season action, Tchani is first on the list in successful passes with 1,422, while Nagbe has 883 successful passes.
Federico Higuain is now second among all MLS players in free-kick goals this season after last weekend’s strike against New England. Both free-kick goals have come against the Revs this year. The Argentine playmaker’s two free-kick goals trails only Michel of FC Dallas who has three.
Federico Higuain continues to lead MLS in corner kicks this season (127), which is now his career high and also ties Guillermo Barros-Schelotto (2010) for the club’s record for corner kicks in a single season. His previous career high for a single season was 123 last year, which he broke against New England last weekend. Overall, Higuain is third on the Crew’s all-time list for corners, trailing Robert Warzycha (503) and Guillermo Barros Schelotto (423).