LOOKING FOR FIRST WIN IN DYNAMO’S NEW HOME
The Black & Gold return to BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday for the second time in 2014 ... after falling in the first match in Houston -- a 1-0 Dynamo win on May 7 -- the Crew looks to secure its first win at the Dynamo venue that opened in 2012 ... in the three previous meetings at the venue, the Crew (0-2-1) has battled, with losses coming in just one or two-goal margins on top of the draw in the first meeting on August 19, 2012.
FIVE GAMES, FIVE GOALS FOR MERAM
Justin Meram has been on a scoring tear, registering five goals over the last five matches dating back to August 9 against Toronto FC ... Meram recorded a tally in three straight matches from August 9 - August 23 and returned with a brace following the shutout loss at Montreal.
MERAM MAGIC ...
Justin Meram scored his seventh goal of the season to open the scoring in 3-0 win over Chivas USA on September 7 … Meram has scored a goal in four of the club’s last five matches ... of Meram’s 12 career goals since 2011, seven of them have come in 2014.
... AND JUSTIN HAS BEEN PRODUCTIVE
Of midfielders in MLS that have played at least 20 games this season, Justin Meram enters the week ranked first in minutes per goal scored (165.43) ... a look at Opta numbers is below, showing that Meram has scored once every 1.8 matches for the Crew.
**Numbers entering the week as of 9/8/14
GREAT HOME CROWDS
The Crew completes a three-match homestand on Saturday with a visit from Houston, looking to build-off the home attendance success in recent weeks ... over the last two weeks, the Crew has averaged 19,275 fans per game ... last Saturday’s attendance of 20,729 marked the Crew’s third sellout of the season ... that attendance marks the 30th largest all-time crowd in Crew Stadium history dating back to 1999, which includes MLS regular-season, MLS Cup Playoffs, an MLS Cup and U.S. Soccer matches.
DOMINATING THE DYNAMO IN COLUMBUS
Houston arrives in Columbus for its 10th trip to Columbus Crew Stadium since 2006 ... Crew Stadium has not been kind to the Dynamo ... since a June 10, 2007 victory for Houston in Columbus, the Crew is unbeaten (4-0-3) against Houston at home ... in that span, the Crew has outscored Houston, 13-6 and has shut-out the Texas side four times.
Four different Crew players scored in Saturday’s 4-1 win over the LA Galaxy ... it was the Crew’s first four-goal performance of the season and first since the 4-2 win at FC Dallas on September 29, 2013.
A FIRST FOR SPEAS, GONZALEZ
On Saturday against LA, Ben Speas recorded his first goal of the season in the 75th minute to give the Crew a 3-1 lead and Giancarlo Gonzalez scored his first goal in his MLS career in the 84th minute in the match’s final strike of the evening ... Gonzalez became the first Crew defender to score in 2014 ... for Speas, it was the second career goal for the midfielder ... Speas scored his first strike in D.C. last season in a tally that earned him the club’s Goal of the Year award, voted by the fans.
Dan Haiek and Armchair Analyst Matt Doyle take a look at the Wednesday night match between the Houston Dynamo and the Columbus Crew. Can the Dynamo contain the Crew overlap? Is Giles Barnes about to break out?
THE ROAD TRIP CONTINUES
Wednesday’s match marks the second of three games in a stretch of three tilts in seven days ... the contest also marks the first time in 2014 that the team is playing back-to-back road matches in the club’s extended road trip, traveling directly from Kansas City to Houston before coming home ... including Wednesday’s clash against the Dynamo, the Crew has three more road matches in the month of May ... the team has consecutive away matches scheduled in July (July 4 at Colorado and July 12 at New York) before a trio of consecutive road matches in October (at New England on October 4; at Philadelphia on October 11; and at New York on October 19).
A QUICK TURNAROUND AND A FOCUS SHIFT TO HOUSTON
Following Sunday’s match, Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter was quick to note the team’s rapid turnaround and shift of focus ahead of Wednesday’s road tilt ... said Berhalter, “We need to get guys recovered from this game. Obviously it’s been warm, so we have to recover and get prepared for the next game. We’re going to focus, right from the beginning, on playing our game. That’s our focus. We want our guys to look at this game and see what they could have done better. We’ll give them feedback about what they could have done better and we’re going to move forward.”
BEGINNING A NEW STREAK ...
Sunday’s 2-0 defeat at Sporting KC marked just the second loss for the Crew in 2014 ... the last time the Crew lost -- on April 5 against Toronto -- the team rebounded with a trio of draws as the Crew went unbeaten from April 13-26 ... already this year, the team has gone on a pair of three-match unbeaten streaks, with additional wins in three Match tilts to open the year.
... AND BUILDING OFF A STREAK VERSUS HOUSTON
Last September’s Crew victory against Houston began a new streak against the Dynamo ... the Crew’s 3-1 loss at Houston on August 3, 2013 snapped a nine-match unbeaten streak (3-0-6) against the Dynamo, dating back to March 21, 2009 ... the Black & Gold defeated Houston 2-0 on June 18, 2011 in Houston, but the two teams have drawn four of the last six matches, including a 1-1 draw on June 1, 2013 at Crew Stadium.
The Houston Dynamo announced Thursday that the Crew's Danny O'Rourke and Frankie Hejduk have been added to the star-studded list of players that will be attending in The Brian Ching Testimonial Match at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston on December 13. Other stars that will be sending Ching off in style include Landon Donovan, Dwayne de Rosario, Chris Wondolowski and Jimmy Conrad.
As a rookie, O'Rourke played alongside Ching with the San Jose Earthquakes during the 2005 season before the first MLS incarnation of the 'Quakes moved to Houston in 2006. Hejduk and Ching represented the United States on several occassions together, including the 2009 edition of "Dos a Cero" against Mexico at Crew Stadium.
Ching's testimonial will benefit the Dynamo legend's charitable initiative, The House That Ching Built, and Habitat for Humanity.
Fresh off the heels of scoring against his most recent former team, the Chicago Fire, Crew forward Dominic Oduro is set to square-off against another one of his old clubs, FC Dallas, on Sunday. Here is a look at how the journeyman forward has fared against his past teammates throughout his career.
|Club||Career Matches Since Departing Club||Goals||Assists|
|New York Red Bulls||9||2*||1|
*Oduro has recorded one goal vs. NYRB, one assist vs. Houston Dynamo and one goal vs. Chicago Fire in 2013 with the Crew
^MLS matches only
MLSSoccer.com's Dan Haiek and Matt Doyle preview this week's matchup between the Crew and the Houston Dynamo.
Saturday brings the second of three meetings between the Columbus Crew and Houston Dynamo (9:00 p.m. ET / FOX Sports Ohio). The two sides drew 1-1 back on June 1 at Crew Stadium in the first match. Before the Black & Gold travels to Houston, here is a look back at the previous clash.
Dynamo defender Warren Creavalle put Houston up 1-0 just after the half-hour mark, finishing off a Dynamo counterattack from Kofi Sarkodie's cross from the right wing. Making his first MLS start, rookie defender Chad Barson drew a penalty in the 68th minute. Captain Federico Higuaín then converted from the penalty spot to level the match at one and help the Black & Gold to a point at home.