For the 65th time, Columbus Crew SC and the New England Revolution will face off in what has become an intense rivalry in Major League Soccer.
Kick-off between the two MLS orginals is scheduled for 7:30 pm. on Wednesday, June 24 at MAPFRE Stadium.
The series, in which Crew SC holds a 31-21-12 advantage, stretches all the way back to Major League Soccer’s inaugural season in 1996. Since the first meeting between the two, which resulted in a 3-2 win for Crew SC, numerous unforgettable moments have taken place. We sifted through those moments to bring you five of our favorites.
August 8, 1998 – You get a goal, and a goal, and a goal...
For the first 19 minutes of play, nobody scored. Then the floodgates opened. Six different Crew SC players picked up a goal in the club’s 6-1 drumming of the Revolution. The teams combined for a whopping 42 shots during the match with the goalkeepers making 11 saves, cumulatively. The performance remains tied for the most goals scored by Crew SC in a single match.
May 15, 1999 – MAPFRE’S coronation
America’s first ever soccer-specific stadium was open for business and New England was its first customer. Jeff Cunningham and Stern John each registered a goal in Crew SC’s 2-0 win in front of 24,741 people. The Black & Gold withstood 18 New England shots to preserve the first win and shutout in stadium history. It took until the third match at MAPFRE Stadium for an opposing team to score when Los Angeles did so two weeks later.
May 8, 2010 – Stoppage-time drama
In some sort of cruel ploy on the stats keeper, New England and Columbus combined for four goals over an 11-minute period. New England’s Zak Boggs scored twice (29’, 40’), Crew SC's Eddie Gaven scored once (31’) and Corey Gibbs put one in his own goal to level the match at 2-2 going into the break. Compared to how quickly goals were scored in the first half, the game winner took forever to arrive. Robbie Rogers broke the tie in the 91st minute to propel Crew SC to a thrilling 3-2 win.
January 13, 2014 – Welcome to Columbus, Michael Parkhurst
This isn’t a moment from a match, but it is a move that has had a substantial impact on the club. On this date, Crew SC acquired the rights to defender Michael Parkhurst from New England in exchange for the fourth overall selection in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft and allocation money. Parkhurst agreed to a contract with Crew SC and has since become a vitial part of the Columbus back line. Not only has he played in 47 matches over the past two seasons, he also became the team captain prior to the 2015 season.
September 20, 2014 – Honoring Frankie Hejduk
On a day when one of Crew SC’s finest defenders was inducted into the Circle of Honor, Columbus and New England showcased their defenses. Federico Higuaín registered the match’s lone goal as Crew SC came away with the 1-0 victory. What the game lacked in offensive productivity, it made up for in physicality. The two sides combined for 30 fouls. We’re sure Frankie would have loved to played in this one.
By: Brad Friedman
No team loves scoring goals in front of its own fans quite as much as Columbus Crew SC.
Well, we’re sure other teams love to score at home too, but no club does it more frequently this year than the Black & Gold. Through eight matches at MAPFRE Stadium, Crew SC has scored 17 home goals, more than any other club this season.
Five different players have scored those goals and they have all come about in very different manners. Here, we take a closer look at each one.
Meram Comes Flying In
The League's top delivery man, Ethan Finlay, provided a great ball here, largely because of his patience. He took his time and waited for Justin Meram, Kei Kamara and Federico Higuaín to find space. With Kamara closest to goal and Higuaín coming in with a head of steam, Meram fell under the radar, making him the perfect target for a cross. From there, Meram strikes a powerful header to help send Crew SC to a 2-0 win over Toronto FC.
Francis Delivers, Kamara Finishes
It’s difficult to think that Waylon Francis could have delivered a better ball into the box. He saw the gap widening between Toronto FC’s Damien Perquis and Ashtone Morgan, both of whom were focused on Francis and not the wondering Kamara, and put it exactly where it needed to go. The cross headed straight to Kamara and into the back of the net in a flash, prompting Kamara’s ode to the old logo with his celebration.
Tchani: Right Place, Right Time
Pipa’s corner pinballs off two New York defenders, but the ball failed to be seriously redirected after traveling through a crowd of eight players. While the ball was in the air, Tony Tchani wisely slid behind the defense towards the unoccupied space to the left of goalkeeper Luis Robles. Once the ball arrived at his feet, Tchani was staring at nothing but twine.
Pipa’s Back-heel Dandy
Rafael Ramos put this play in motion with a turnover that went straight to Finlay. Pipa went to challenge Ramos prior to his turnover, so he was already in plenty of space only a few yards out. By the time he got the ball, Donovan Ricketts was looming and Pipa had to fire off a shot quickly – and that he did.
Meram Fires It Into the Upper 90
Just like the first goal of the match, Meram’s opportunity presented itself after an Orlando City turnover in its own box. Cristian Higuita did a nice job of intercepting the cross, but Kamara’s effort to get him off the ball was even better. Meram then showed some nice handles in close quarters, creating space for the shot, and put Crew SC up 2-0.
Kamara Gets Chippy
A lot of credit goes out to Pipa for setting up this opportunity. He was running away from Kamara and the net, but still had the presence of mind to throw a lobbed through ball towards Kamara as soon as he got to the ball. Given the difficulty of a chip shot, many attackers would have opted to deke out the goalie and shoot the ball from inside the box, but Kamara saw the opportunity for the chip and seized it.
Chest, Foot, Goal
John McCarthy’s clearance took a wicked bounce back towards the box, right to a sprinting Finlay. Philadelphia was caught on its heels and out of position, allowing Kamara to roam free. Finlay’s cross didn’t lead him towards goal, but Kamara stayed composed, settled the ball and fired away.
This ball went from Crew SC's half to the back of the net in just two passes. Both of those passes could not have been more on target. Finlay was Johnny-on-the-spot after Steven Vitória whiffed on the clearance, freezing McCarthy and giving Finlay enough room to slot it home.
Meram Will Not Be Denied
Meram looks like a freight train cutting through Philadelphia’s back line. He outmuscles two Philadelphia defenders and fires off a cannon that proved to be too hot for McCarthy to handle. Sometimes, there is just no denying an effort like that.
Finlay Hits the Turbo Button
Over a span of 10 seconds and two passes, the ball made its way from the foot of Steve Clark to the back of Philadelphia’s net. Kamara put forth a great effort winning the 50-50 ball and corralling it prior to finding Finlay along the wing. As soon as Finlay recognized Kamara’s control of the ball, he turned on the afterburners and blew by Fabinho with ease to set up the score.
Kamara Heads It Home
Kamara did well to create space and momentum for himself, but a lot of credit is due to Francis and Meram for keeping the chance alive. That opportunity was one poor touch and clearance away from dissapating, but Francis and Meram were patient and methodical in their ball-handling before Francis sent in the all-important cross.
Pipa Goes for a Stroll
Seattle’s defense was so prepared for another cross that it didn’t anticipate Pipa rolling into the box. He had plenty of space to wind up and find a spot amongst all of the traffic in front of net. Not to mention he had all of Seattle’s defenders chasing.
Kamara’s Finesse Touch
This was an impressive display of discipline from Kamara. He recognized Seattle’s defense was swarming him and the immediacy of the situation, so he calmly put it away as soon as the ball arrived. Hector Jimenez also showed some hustle in saving the ball that he eventually sent Kamara’s way.
Off the Side of His Foot
Meram played the role of facilitator on this attack. He made two slick moves to evade defenders and in the process, drew a lot of attention, thus deflecting attention away from Finlay and Kamara. When Finlay got the ball, it was essentially two on zero and an easy play to execute from there.
Follow the Bouncing Ball
Kamara sure does have a tendency to be at the right place at the right time, huh? When Kevan George got his head on the ball, Chicago’s defense became focused on him, instead of continuing to mark their respective Crew SC players. Kamara slipped away from Jeff Larentowicz and had a wide open look at goal by the time the ball arrived.
Pipa’s Stoppage-time Tally
With George and Kamara pressing so far forward, Pipa found his way into the small pocket of space behind them and took advantage of a loose ball. He even had the presence of mind to take a touch, settle the ball down and finish it with some power.
Finlay Sprints, Pipa Finishes
As we’ve seen before, Finlay can sprint with the best of them, and he did exactly that here. Well, he also got a bit of help with Leonardo failing to clear the ball, but Finlay still made a great decision with keeping the ball low on the cross and putting it exactly where Pipa was going to be.
Loughnane: "Our mission is to protect our guests, players, coaches, officials and staff."
By Andy Loughnane
I would like to start by thanking the 21,051 supporters that attended last Saturday’s sellout match against the LA Galaxy. As many of you in attendance or in the area know, our region endured thunderstorms on Saturday evening during the scheduled timeslot for the contest. The storm ultimately resulted in a rain delay of 2 hours and 15 minutes. There have been questions and concerns raised since the delay was initiated and I want to spend a moment this afternoon revisiting Saturday to simply stress that, above all, our mission is to protect our guests, players, coaches, officials and staff.
Weather delays can become an unfortunate reality for outdoor events. Our team and our staff want nothing more than to start at the scheduled kickoff time, and furthermore we recognize that weather delays can provide an inconvenience. Our sport provides unparalleled theatre, however one thing all open-air venues must safeguard against is the emergence of lightning and severe weather.
As the original kickoff time approached, our weather intelligence indicated that there was a high probability that a thunderstorm – with lightning – would travel directly in the vicinity of MAPFRE Stadium. In particular, we were concerned with the lightning strikes that were hitting the ground as part of this storm. Our Command Center is equipped with weather technology that can track each lightning strike and it became very evident that lightning would travel inside of the radius that MAPFRE Stadium defines as threatening. Once lightning strikes crossed into our protective boundary, we immediately reached consensus with local officials to make the announcement for all guests to take shelter in our approved protective zones. At this point, we initiated a delay in the start of the match.
Although raindrops did not immediately fall on MAPFRE Stadium, there were constant lightning strikes hitting the ground within an unsafe distance of MAPFRE Stadium. Although I appreciate the questions that have been raised as to why we did not start the match immediately at 7:30 p.m. with no rain overhead, the fact of the matter is that rain alone is not the single determining factor for guest/player safety. Ultimately the lightning struck the ground within one (1) mile of MAPFRE Stadium (and eventually rain directly overhead) and our protocols and safety measures to protect our guests to the best of our ability were in place.
The length of the delay was a function of the speed of this particular storm and the proximity of lightning strikes. Meteorological records will support that this storm moved slowly through our radius and was accompanied by lightning during the entirety of the delay. I know that information can’t return two-plus hours of your Saturday waiting for soccer, but it is important to note that as soon as the lightning strikes (not the raindrops) departed our protective boundary we made a call in conjunction with local officials, MLS League office, and LA Galaxy to start the match at 9:45pm after a mandatory warmup period was completed. We successfully prepared the pitch for matchplay and completed a 90+ minute contest on Saturday evening.
As we continue this early-summer homestand, it should be known that we took the safety and security of our guests into consideration as our number one priority on Saturday and our enacting of severe weather protocol was justified in light of the severity of the storm that traveled in our path. I know the delay was a frustrating one, but as you know the speed and behavior of storms can change without notice. Had we indicated that the storm would last for a specific duration we would have all been wrong because this particular storm moved slower than anticipated.
I want to close by thanking our supporters for your feedback and successful implementation of the safety protocol, including your patience during the delay. Each match is an opportunity to enhance the guest experience, so please know that we are grateful for your support and we look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.