Steve Clark has made 19 saves over the past four matches for the Crew. Only one other club has received more saves from its starting goalkeeper over that span (Real Salt Lake, 22). Conversely, Philadelphia, this weekend’s opponent, has received just five saves from its starting goalkeepers (Zac MacMath and Rais Mbolhi) over that span, which is the lowest total of any MLS club.
Finlay secured his ninth goal of the campaign last weekend at New England. With that tally, Finlay became one of just three Americans under the age of 25 to record at least nine goals in MLS this season. The Marshfield, Wisconsin native joins LA’s Gyasi Zardes (16 goals) and Houston’s Will Bruin (10) on that list.
The Crew and the Union first met this season on March 22. In the time span from that date until Saturday’s meeting on October 11, 203 days will have passed. That gap is the longest timeframe between meetings of the Crew and any other Eastern Conference opponent this season by a wide margin, exceeding the 108 days between the Black & Gold’s battles with the Houston Dynamo on May 7 and August 23.
CREW SUCCESSFUL ALL-TIME AGAINST PHILADELPHIA ...
Although the Crew/Union rivalry is young, the Black & Gold have experienced success against their fellow Eastern Conference side since the Union’s inception into MLS in 2010 ... with a victory in-hand from earlier this season, the Crew is now 6-3-1 against the Union all-time in regular-season play ... Columbus is 3-1-1 over its last five encounters with Philadelphia, dating back to August 28, 2012 ... the Black & Gold have taken 63.33% of possible points against the Union all-time, trailing only Montreal (70.37%) for most in club history against a single opponent.
... BUT PPL PARK HASN’T BEEN AS KIND
While the Crew is unbeaten at home against the Union (4-0-1 all-time in the regular season), the club’s record at PPL Park is 2-3-0 ... in the Black & Gold’s last trip to Chester, Pa., the club fell by a final score of 3-0 behind goals from Brian Carroll, Conor Casey and Sheanon Williams ... the Crew won its first-ever trip to PPL Park, on August 5, 2010, and added its second victory at Philadelphia on August 29, 2012.
FINLAY CONTINUES BREAKOUT CAMPAIGN
By notching the Black & Gold’s lone tally last weekend at New England, winger Ethan Finlay continued his breakout 2014 season for the Crew ... the goal was Finlay’s ninth of the season and his third over his last four matches ... since his first career MLS goal on May 17 at Portland, Finlay is tied for 10th in League goal-scoring ... among players with at least 18 games played over that same span, Finlay’s 31.03% conversion rate (excluding penalties) ranks fifth in MLS ... the Crew has also posted a record of 5-1-3 in all matches where Finlay finds the back of the net.
TCHANI TIES CAREER-BEST IN ASSISTS
Tony Tchani provided the assist for Ethan Finlay’s first-half goal at Gillette Stadium last weekend, his third assist of the year, which tied the Cameroonian’s single-season MLS best ... in 2010, Tchani’s rookie year, he contributed three assists as a member of the New York Red Bulls ... Tchani’s three assists have all come over the club’s last 11 matches ... the Crew is 2-1-0 when Tchani sets up a tally in 2014.
Ahead of his final cap with the United States Men's National Team on Friday night, Landon Donovan sat down with Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl for a "rapid-fire" interview spanning his legendary career. When asked "Who’s the best teammate you’ve ever had?" Donovan cites Crew and USMNT legend Frankie Hejduk among his favorite teammates.
We agree, LD. Well said.
Check out the full interview on SI's Planet Fútbol.
Ahead of Saturday's crucial Eastern Conference match-up against the Philadelphia Union, make sure you tune into Time Warner Cable SportsChannel a little early for the debut of "Crew Warm-Up," a comprehensive pre-match show.
Dwight Burgess, Chris Doran and Ashleigh Ignelzi are slated to preview the contest at PPL Park and get you all you need to know prior to kickoff. You'll hear from Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter as well as select Crew players. The gang will also have the latest information on the other matches affecting the MLS race to the playoffs, discussion about the new badge and brand identity of the Crew and a look at the newest member of the Black & Gold, Kei Kamara.
The show starts at 6:30 p.m. ET on Saturday evening.
Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Images
It was a slight setback for the Black & Gold in the weekly Power Rankings following the club's 2-1 defeat away to New England, but the Crew is still in good position in the Eastern Conference and will look to vault back up the charts with a result in Philadelphia on Saturday.
Check out the full rankings below, with last week's position indicated:
MLSsoccer.com: 7 (7)
ESPNFC: 8 (7)
SI.com: 10 (8)
Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Images